China blames US troop withdrawal for surge of attacks in Afghanistan
Beijing [China], May 12 China has blamed the abrupt withdrawal of US forces from Afghanistan for a surge of attacks in the country, days after a series of explosions in Kabul killed over 60 people, mostly girl students.
According to South China Morning Post (SCMP), foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said China was “shocked” by the attacks and “deeply saddened” by the death toll, calling on the US to pull out troops “in a responsible manner”.
“It needs to be pointed out that the recent abrupt US announcement of complete withdrawal of forces from Afghanistan has led to a succession of explosive attacks throughout the country, worsening the security situation and threatening peace and stability as well as people’s lives and safety,” Hua said in a statement.
“China calls on foreign troops in Afghanistan to take into full account the security of people in the country and the region, pull out in a responsible manner and avoid inflicting more turmoil and suffering on the Afghan people,” she added.
Biden announced earlier this month the decision to withdraw troops from the country starting on that May 1 deadline, with the aim of completely withdrawing from Afghanistan by September 11, which would mark the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks that sparked the war in Afghanistan, the longest conflict in American history.
Beijing has long feared that instability in Afghanistan would give ground to Islamic fundamentalism that would spill over into China’s predominantly Muslim Xinjiang region, SCMP reported. The withdrawal of troops by the US has already led to a surge in fighting between Taliban and Afghan security forces.
Observers said Beijing was unlikely to station troops in Afghanistan, but might work with other countries in the region to reduce the security risk to China.
Pang Zhongying, an international relations professor at Ocean University of China, said though China was tempted to fill the vacuum, it was unlikely to play a significant military role there because the risk was too high, the SCMP reported.
She also said that the UN framework is “too fragile” and it would also be difficult for China to project its strategic influence through this platform.
At least three explosions took place near Sayed-ul-Shuhada High School in the west of Kabul on Saturday afternoon. As many as 63 people, all students, were killed in a Kabul school bombing and 150 more were wounded, TOLO News reported citing sources and relatives of victims.
The incident was heavily condemned by the international community.
However, the Taliban has denied any involvement in the attack. “We condemn in strongest terms the killing of civilians in Dashti Barchi, Kabul, as a result of incessant explosions and call for a neutral and transparent investigation,” Taliban spokesman Suhail Shaheen had said in a tweet.
The Taliban later announced that they would observe a three-day ceasefire for the festival of Eid.