China welcomes US withdrawal as a new chance for Afghanistan

BEIJING (AP) — China says the withdrawal of U.S. and NATO forces from Afghanistan offers the country a new chance to take its destiny into its own hands, while calling for the resurgent Taliban to cut all ties with terrorist groups.

Speaking Tuesday in Tajikistan’s capital Dushanbe, Foreign Minister Wang Yi said the U.S. should reflect on its role in Afghanistan after its 20-year military involvement failed to bring peace.

“With the United States and NATO leaving Afghanistan, the Afghan people have a new opportunity to take the destiny of their country and their people into their own hands,” Wang said in a news release posted on the ministry’s website Wednesday.

In remarks directed at the Taliban, Wang said the deeply conservative group should “resolutely draw a line with all terrorist forces, and return to the political mainstream of Afghanistan with a responsible attitude toward the country and people.”

China shares a narrow border with Afghanistan and is concerned about Islamist extremism spilling over into its traditionally Muslim region of Xinjiang. As part of those prevention efforts, Beijing has been sharing up ties with its central Asian neighbors such as Tajikistan.

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