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China wants Afghan crackdown on Xinjiang militants

PTI | Last Updated: Sunday, February 23, 2014 - 19:09

Beijing: Promising to step up aid to Afghanistan, including training for its security forces, Beijing has asked Kabul to crack down on Islamic militants active in China`s volatile Xinjiang province bordering the war-torn country.

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi raised the issue when he met Afghan President Hamid Karzai and Foreign Minister Zarar Ahmad Osmani in Kabul yesterday.

Wang called for strengthening cooperation in security issues to fight trans-national crimes and terror activities, such as those perpetrated by the al Qaeda-linked East Turkistan Islamic Movement (ETIM) which China alleges is fighting for independence of Xinjiang.

Beijing, which is battling a major militancy in Muslim Uygur-majority Xinjiang, is concerned about the return of the Taliban and al Qaeda.
China will continue to provide training and assistance to Afghan security forces, and hopes Afghanistan will take effective measures to ensure the safety of Chinese enterprises and personnel in the country, Wang said.

Beijing will also provide more assistance to Kabul for its efforts to develop the economy and improve the livelihood of its people with infrastructure projects, including the construction of a school in Kabul University, farm machinery and training classes for Afghan technicians, Wang said in his talks with Afghan leaders.

The Chinese government encourages and supports capable Chinese enterprises to invest in Afghanistan to strengthen cooperation in trade, energy and other fields, he said.

In recent months, China has stepped up engagement with a host of countries, including India, Russia and Pakistan, to forge a strategy to deal with the situation in Afghanistan when US and NATO forces leave as planned at the year-end.
Wang also met Rangin Dadfar Spanta, Karzai`s national security advisor, and said security cooperation has become a major part of the strategic cooperative partnership between the two countries.

China appreciated Afghanistan`s efforts to crack down on the ETIM and other terrorist forces, and was grateful for its efforts to ensure the safety of Chinese nationals and institutions in the country, state-run Xinhua news agency quoted Wang as saying.

He said this year is crucial for Afghanistan`s transition, and the situation has a direct bearing on the fundamental interests of the Afghan people and regional peace and stability.

"China firmly supports Afghanistan to realise a smooth transition and hopes Afghanistan`s general election will go ahead smoothly as scheduled. China is willing to keep close communication with Afghanistan and work hard to facilitate Afghanistan`s political reconciliation," he said.

First Published: Sunday, February 23, 2014 - 19:09

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