Afghanistan's Foreign Minister Amir Khan Muttaqi talks with journalists during his visit to the Institute of strategic studies in Islamabad, Pakistan 08 May 2023. EFE/EPA/FILE/SOHAIL SHAHZAD

Taliban foreign minister in China for Himalayan conference

Kabul, Oct 3 (EFE).- Taliban Foreign Minister Amir Khan Muttaqi left for China on Tuesday to attend a regional conference on connectivity, environment, and cultural linkages in the trans-Himalaya region.

Foreign ministry spokesperson Hafiz Zia Ahmad Takal said Muttaqi is visiting China on an official invitation from Beijing to participate in the Trans-Himalaya Forum for International Cooperation.

Takal said the forum would discuss economic cooperation, regional connectivity, and climate change with experts and officials from the countries around the Himalayan region attending the conference.

The spokesperson said the Afghan minister was expected to hold talks with China foreign minister and representatives from other countries on the sidelines of the forum.

China is among a few countries, including Pakistan, Iran, and Russia, which have maintained their diplomatic presence in Afghanistan after the Taliban seized power in August 2021.

China last month sent Zhao Xing as its new ambassador to Afghanistan.

Prime Minister Mohammad Hassan Akhund accepted Zhao’s credentials in a ceremony, which was also attended by Muttaqi on Sep. 13.

China thus became the first nation to send a permanent ambassador to Afghanistan since the Taliban returned to power, even as the Islamist government has not been recognized by any country so far.

China was represented by its chargé d’affaires Zhao Haihan, the highest-level official after the ambassador, in Kabul.

China, which shares a small border with Afghanistan, has made substantial investments in Afghan and the region.

Beijing has often stressed enhancing ties with Afghanistan, seeking cooperation on countering terrorism, fostering economic collaboration, and strengthening regional stability. EFE