Mon, 26 Jul 2021

UNITED NATIONS, June 22 (Xinhua) -- A Chinese envoy on Tuesday expressed grave concern over the situation in Afghanistan and asked the international community to help the country overcome the many difficulties.

The current situation in Afghanistan is at a critical crossroads and the country is entering a stage of a new round of uncertainties. It appears that since the U.S. announcement of troops withdrawal in mid-April, the intra-Afghan negotiations have seen setbacks rather than progress. The security situation is deteriorating, and the economic and humanitarian situation has become increasingly precarious, said Zhang Jun, China's permanent representative to the United Nations.

"China is deeply concerned about this. We need to think hard about what caused the current situation in Afghanistan, and what is the way forward for Afghanistan to achieve durable stability and security in the next stage," he told the Security Council.

The future of Afghanistan should be in the hands of the Afghan people themselves, and the future political arrangement for the country should be decided independently by the Afghans. The international community should follow the principle of Afghan leadership and Afghan ownership, uphold fairness and justice, and contribute more positively to the peace and reconciliation process in Afghanistan. No external forces shall be allowed to pursue narrow self-interests in Afghanistan and turn Afghanistan into an arena of a geopolitical game, he said.

All parties in Afghanistan should bear in mind the interests of the country and its people, work together to consolidate the gains in peace and reconstruction achieved in the past 20 years, and explore a governance model and development path that suits Afghanistan's national conditions, said Zhang.

Although the progress in intra-Afghan peace talks has been slow, they should not be allowed to fail. China hopes that all parties in the intra-Afghan peace talks can earnestly build consensus and set up a roadmap and timetable for reconciliation as soon as possible. China welcomes the resumption of contact between the Afghan negotiating team and Taliban delegation in Doha, and hopes that the two sides will resume a new round of negotiations as soon as possible. China stands ready to host an intra-Afghan dialogue at an appropriate time to facilitate and support peace talks, he said.

Peace talks need an enabling environment of peace and stability. At present, violence is prevalent in Afghanistan, with security incidents from February to May increasing by nearly 30 percent in comparison with the same period last year. China condemns all violent attacks against civilians and calls for a cease-fire and an end to violence as soon as possible. China welcomes the short-term cease-fire reached by the Afghan government and the Taliban during Eid al-Fitr and hopes that the two sides will create more favorable conditions to gradually expand the duration and the scope of the cease-fire.

The issue of the withdrawal of foreign troops remains the biggest external factor affecting the situation in Afghanistan for some time to come, said Zhang. "Foreign troops cannot come and go as they wish. China urges foreign forces to withdraw in a responsible and orderly manner, fully consult with the Afghan government on post-withdrawal arrangement, and enhance transparency with countries in the region to prevent the security situation from worsening, or even getting out of control."

Terrorism remains a severe challenge facing Afghanistan and regional countries. All parties should step up their efforts to fight terrorist organizations such as al-Qaida, the Islamic State, and the East Turkestan Islamic Movement to prevent the resurgence of terrorist forces. China firmly opposes any politicization of counterterrorism or double standards in this regard, he said.

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