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China and Taliban’s relationship

At an official ceremony held by the Chinese government in Beijing on January 30, a queue of foreign diplomats lined up to present their credentials to President Xi Jinping. Among the 309 diplomats was an unlikely participant.

After over two years of negotiations, China recognised Bilal Karimi, a former Taliban spokesman, as an official envoy to Beijing, making Xi’s government the first in the world to do so since the group seized power in Afghanistan in 2021.

China has been making inroads into Afghanistan through investments and projects since the United States withdrew forces from the country in 2021, triggering a collapse of the Western-backed Afghan government and paving the way for the Taliban to return to power.

But as the news of Beijing’s formal acceptance of the Taliban on January 30 spread, the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs was quick to issue a statement, clarifying that the acceptance of diplomatic credentials did not signal Beijing’s official recognition of Afghanistan’s current rulers.

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