Xi vows support for Afghanistan reconstruction

Updated: 2014-05-20 07:41

By Zhao Shengnan in Shanghai (China Daily)

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The upcoming run-off for the Afghan presidential election and the newly declared summer offensive by the Taliban have not stopped Afghan President Hamid Karzai from visiting China again.

His four-day trip to China underscored Kabul's eagerness for support amid security challenges in the war-torn country, most notably the withdrawal of US and NATO troops by the end of the year and its ongoing presidential elections.

China will provide help within its reach to Afghanistan's reconstruction and jointly develop the Silk Road Economic Belt with the Central Asian country, President Xi Jinping told Karzai on Monday.

Xi said China encourages capable Chinese companies to invest in Afghanistan, urging Kabul to ensure the safety of Chinese.

China would like to strengthen cooperation with Afghanistan in fighting the "three evil forces" of separatism, extremism and terrorism, Xi said. China's Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region shares a narrow border with Afghanistan.

The meeting between the two presidents came shortly after China was recently hit by a string of terrorist attacks, and Taliban militants launched a declared summer offensive across Afghanistan last week.

Uncertainty looms as foreign combat forces prepare to pull out, and the Afghan election heads for a second round run-off in mid-June after final results last week showed no candidate had won an absolute majority.

No matter the result of the election, Afghanistan is determined to develop a close relationship with China, Karzai said.

The outgoing president also called for China to continue supporting Afghanistan's stability, reconciliation and development, including personnel training.

Terrorism and transnational crime are common enemies, and Afghanistan is willing to fight against them with China, he said.

Karzai left Kabul on Sunday for China to meet with leaders and attend a summit of the Conference on Interaction and Confidence Building Measures in Asia in Shanghai on Tuesday and Wednesday.

Sun Zhuangzhi, a senior researcher of Russian and Central Asian studies at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, said support from Afghanistan's neighboring countries will directly influence the country's future.

"China's assistance has been unconditional and continuous, and most of it was used to boost the local economy and improve people's living conditions," Sun said.


(China Daily 05/20/2014 page3)