“The Taliban are a pivotal military and political force in Afghanistan and are expected to play an important role in the in process of peace, reconciliation and reconstruction,” Wang said.
China, Wang said, hopes the Taliban will put the nation’s and the people’s interests first and focus on peace talks, set peace goals, establish a “positive image” and work for unity among all factions and ethnic groups.
Wang also said China hopes the Taliban will “deal resolutely” with the East Turkistan Islamic Movement, a group China claims is leading a push for independence in Xinjiang, but which many experts doubt even exists in any operational form.
The heads of the Taliban Religious Council and the Propaganda Committee were also on the trip.
The U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan by Aug. 31 is seen as a boon to China, Washington’s chief strategic competitor, which has long resented the presence of U.S. troops in what it considers its own backyard.
If the Taliban do topple the U.S.-backed central government, China could gain a strategic corridor allowing it and long-time ally Pakistan to bring further pressure against common rival India.
Baradar’s visit comes shortly after Pakistan’s foreign minister and intelligence chief made their trips to China.