China says Taliban leader was in Beijing

Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Lu Kang

Beijing: China on Thursday said that one of the top leaders of the Taliban was in Beijing to discuss the Afghan peace process and issue of terrorism with its officials.

"Head of the Taliban office in Doha, Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, and his aides visited China. During his visit, Chinese officials exchanged views with him on the peace and reconciliation process as well as the fight against terrorism," Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Lu Kang said here.

China, whose officials have been in touch with the Taliban leaders, has emerged an important party interested in ending the long-drawn conflict in Afghanistan.

Muslim Uighurs in China's Xinjiang province fleeing to Afghanistan and organising anti-Beijing activities is also a cause for concern for the Chinese government.

"China has closely followed the development of the situation in Afghanistan and has been playing a constructive role in the peace and reconciliation process," Lu said.

"We always support Afghan-led extensive and inclusive peace, reconciliation as well as the internal dialogue among the Afghans.

"So we have made our position clear with Baradar. This is also an important part in our efforts to promote peace talks," Lu added.

Baradar is the Taliban's deputy chief on political affairs and his visit to China comes ahead of the crucial seventh round of talks between the militant group and the US.

"Both sides agree this exchange is mutually beneficial and we also agree to seek communication and cooperation on the political settlement of the Afghan issue," Lu said.

"We will try to talk though various means and ways to play our due role in realizing our due role in peace and reconciliation, stability and development of Afghanistan.

"I believe relevant parties in Afghanistan who are committed to peace talks hope to resolve the internal situation and achieve sustainable peace and reconciliation there so that we can work to ensure that final peace and reconciliation," the spokesman added.

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