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Helping hand extended to Afghanistan: China Daily editorial

chinadaily.com.cn | Updated: 2023-04-13 19:41

A sculpture of doves of peace flying into the sky. [Photo/IC]

The situation in Afghanistan has gained a sense of urgency given the fact the country's economy is still on the brink of collapse after the Taliban retook control of the country in 2021, with the United Nations warning that 1 million children are in danger of starving and 90 percent of Afghans live below the poverty line of $1.9 a day.

That China is qualified, and welcomed, to lead the international effort at helping the Afghan people achieve long-term peace and stable development is based on the fact that the country has never interfered in Afghanistan's internal affairs, never pursued selfish interests in Afghanistan, and never sought to create a so-called sphere of influence, as its position paper on the Afghan issue states.

The document, which China released on Wednesday, underscores the constructive role that it seeks to play in the reconstruction and development of Afghanistan, which has been devastated by wars and turmoil.

The 11-point paper, released by the Foreign Ministry, covers such issues as counterterrorism cooperation, humanitarian and refugee assistance, as well as combating narcotics.

Actually, as "a good neighbor, a good brother and a good partner", China has cherished the traditional friendship between the two countries and is always ready to provide assistance to the Afghan people within its capacity.

Apart from providing tens of millions of dollars in humanitarian aid to Afghanistan, China has in recent years worked to strengthen practical trade and economic cooperation between the two countries. To benefit the livelihoods of the Afghan people, China has opened an "air corridor" to expand the import of high-quality agricultural products from the country such as pine nuts, and has given duty-free preferential treatment to 98 percent of the goods imported from Afghanistan. 

It is also coordinating with Afghanistan's other neighboring countries in an effort to push for a political settlement in the country and help it achieve peace, stability, and economic recovery. State Councilor and Foreign Minister Qin Gang is in Samarkand, Uzbekistan, for the fourth ministerial conference of Afghanistan's neighboring countries which started on Thursday. China hosted the third meeting of foreign ministers of Afghanistan's neighbors in Tunxi, Anhui province, in March 2022.

In contrast to China's responsible handling of the Afghan issue, the United States, which is partly responsible for the current predicament in Afghanistan due to the hasty withdrawal of its forces from the country in 2021, still refuses to return the $7 billion in frozen Afghan assets to the cash-strapped country, which has worsened the humanitarian and economic woes in Afghanistan.

It is ironic that the US, which always trumpets human rights, has now become "the biggest external factor that hinders substantive improvement in the humanitarian situation in Afghanistan".

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