China moves closer to Taliban regime amid search for natural resources

 Late last month, Taliban Ambassador to China Bilal Karimi presented his credentials to Chinese President Xi Jinping at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, making China the first country to accept a Taliban ambassador.

"Welcoming a new ambassador is a normal diplomatic practice for China," Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin told reporters. He said, "China believes that Afghanistan should not be excluded from the international community. We believe that diplomatic recognition of the Afghan government will come naturally as the concerns of various parties are effectively addressed."

Bill Roggio, a senior fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, told Fox News Digital that he views the relationship between China and the Taliban as "strictly transactional." He said the groups are at an impasse because the Taliban cannot support China's continued oppression of its Muslim Uyghur population and that the Taliban has hosted Uyghur militants from the al Qaeda-affiliated Turkestan Islamic Party (TIP) despite assurances to China that That TIP will not be allowed. work within afghanistan

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Taliban spokespeople, the Chinese Embassy and the Chinese Foreign Ministry did not respond to Fox News Digital's questions about the status of the countries' relations or the Taliban's myriad sanctions against Afghan women.

Jason Hawke, director of Global Friends of Afghanistan, told Fox News Digital that China's actions are a form of "soft recognition" used by many countries that "support the Taliban without fully recognizing the terrorists as a legitimate government." And legitimizing the Haqqani terrorist regime." ,

“Women and girls in Afghanistan are worst off when it comes to providing legitimacy to terrorists,” Hawke says. Without condemnation from outside elements, the Taliban and the Haqqani network have been able to use "unlimited violence to shut down all opposition to their regime policies", leaving women with "no recourse to vent their suffering in open prison". Doesn't remain."

China moves towards Afghanistan as ties with Taliban grow: 'We welcome Chinese investment'

In response to press questions about diplomatic developments, State Department spokesman Matthew Miller said he would "let the Chinese government talk about their relationship and whether they have formally recognized the Taliban," adding that That the US has informed Taliban leaders that "we will." Want to see them take a different course of action,” particularly with regard to the Taliban's human rights violations against Afghan women and girls.

Fueling concerns about China recognizing the Taliban are growing trade ties between Kabul and Beijing. In the past year, Afghanistan has attracted several hundred million and billions of dollars of investment from Chinese companies interested in reserves of copper, cobalt, gold, iron and lithium, which are worth about $1 trillion. China also agreed to extend the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor to Afghanistan in May 2023, part of its controversial Belt and Road Initiative.

Some business ventures are already running. China's Sinopec increased Afghanistan's crude oil production by 300% by December after signing a $540 million deal with Xinjiang Central Asia Petroleum and Gas Co in January 2023. A Taliban spokesman for the Ministry of Mines and Petroleum told Bloomberg that China has drilled about 10 wells in Afghanistan and produces about 5,000 barrels of oil a day.

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Other projects have hit snags. Chinese investors who bought the contract to mine Afghanistan's Mes Aynak copper deposits more than a decade ago have not started work. The copper mine is located among the ruins of a city that is 1,000 to 2,000 years old. Although open-pit mining of Mes Aynak is a more economical option for exploiting its resources, doing so would disturb the archaeological ruins of the area.

Another possible future relationship between China and the Taliban could spell trouble for the Taliban's enemies. Reuters reported in September 2023 that the Taliban wanted to build a "massive camera surveillance network" in Afghan cities, with Chinese company Huawei providing a "verbal agreement" to support an installment contract.

Huawei products are banned in the US and many Western countries. The Washington Post found that Huawei facial-recognition technology has been used to track China's Uyghur population. Rogio says the Taliban "will use such technologies to further their interests with China, including spying on problematic elements of Uighurs seeking refuge in Afghanistan." According to The China Project, the technology also poses a threat to the population of 3,000 Uighurs who fled Afghanistan to escape persecution in China.

For Afghans who already fear biometric technology, which Taliban members are said to be using at some of their outposts, the proposed surveillance network could present new concerns.

Whether China officially recognizes the Taliban or not, its growing ties with Afghanistan's ruling party are a "bitter pill to swallow" for former Afghan government lawmaker Maryam Soleimankhil. Soleimankhil told Fox News Digital that she thinks the Chinese are "telling Afghan women [that] our struggles and pleas for freedom are less valuable than political and economic gain. The message is loud and clear: Afghan women's rights are for sale. And the Chinese are also ready to make a deal."

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