China courted Afghan Taliban in secret meetings – Financial Times

Taliban militants on the outskirts of Jalalabad in Afghanistan. Beijing is making a concerted push to engage with the Islamist group © AFP

Chinese officials have met the Afghan Taliban several times in the past year, figures in the Pakistan government told the Financial Times, as Beijing seeks to play an important role in ending the 17-year conflict in Afghanistan. People involved in facilitating the talks said Beijing had made a concerted push to engage with the Taliban, going as far as inviting senior members of the Islamist group to China. “The Chinese took great care in making those arrangements,” said one Pakistani official who had been briefed on the trip. Islamabad has acted as a broker for the Taliban, helping to set up negotiations with both China and the US.

“The [Taliban] visitors to Beijing got to visit a mosque and eat ‘halal’ food,” the person said. “The Chinese have been trying for some time to urge the Taliban to negotiate, but the meetings were also meant to showcase China’s progress and its …. Read More on Financial Times