BEIJING — China says it is maintaining contact between its embassy in Afghanistan and the Taliban and is calling for Afghan government funds held abroad to be unfrozen.

Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian on Wednesday said the Chinese Embassy in Kabul was “operating normally.”

“We stand ready to maintain communication with the new Afghan authority,” Zhao said.

China has yet to say whether it will recognize the Taliban government, but has been actively courting its top officials, hosting a delegation led by its political leader Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar in July, shortly before the group swept to power amid the withdrawal of U.S. forces and the mass exodus of Afghans fearing a return of the Taliban’s hard-line Islamic rule.

China has also been sharply critical of the nature of the pullout, and, while wary of the rise of radicalism on its western border, has been generally supportive of the group seen as defeating its strategic rival, the United States.

Afghanistan is now teetering on the edge of economic collapse and while China has offered support, its not clear when or how it will deliver.

Last week, the Taliban announced an all-male interim government but the exclusion of other political factions and women has made it unlikely that they will win broad international support or international recognition as the legitimate leaders of Afghanistan.

Without such recognition, the Taliban will be unable to tap billions of its funds frozen abroad, almost all of it contributed by the U.S. and other foreign donors.

Zhao said those funds should be unfrozen and handed over to the Taliban. “Those assets belong to Afghanistan and the Afghan people,” Zhao said.

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“The U.S. should face up to Afghanistan’s justified and reasonable appeals, abandon imposition of sanctions and pressure and not hinder Afghanistan’s economy, livelihood and peaceful reconstruction,” Zhao said.



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ISLAMABAD — Members of Afghanistan’s women soccer team and their families arrived in Pakistan after fleeing their country in the wake of the Taliban takeover, local media said Wednesday.

It was unclear how many Afghan women players and their family members were allowed to enter Pakistan.

According to Pakistan’s information minister, Fawad Chaudhry, the Afghan women soccer players entered Pakistan though the northwestern Torkham border crossing holding valid travel documents.

“We welcome Afghanistan women football team,” Chaudhry tweeted, providing no further details.

However, Pakistan’s English-langue The DAWN newspaper reported that the Afghan female soccer players were issued emergency humanitarian visas following the Taliban takeover of Kabul amid fears that the Taliban would not want women to participate in sports.

The Taliban have not commented on the development, but an official confirmed that under their government’s interpretation of Islam, women are not allowed to play any sports where they could potentially be exposed. The official was not authorized to speak with the media before any official announcements.

Last week, the Taliban …read more

Source:: News Headlines


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