BEIJING: Former Afghan President Hamid Karzai said that Pakistan and China have been making sincere efforts over the years for seeking a negotiated settlement of the Afghan issue.
Karzai who is currently in China echoed President Xi Jinping’s opinion, saying that China has been a steadfast friend and a very good neighbour to the Central Asian nation.
“China has contributed to Afghanistan’s well-being and stability, giving us economic assistance,” he said. “We value very highly the decades of Afghan-China relationship, and especially China’s contributions in Afghanistan in the past 18 years, which have been very significant. In their neighbour, they highly value the role of China and Pakistan in the peace process.
In an interview with the Chinese media, Karzai added that Afghanistan sees China as having an extremely important role in peace and reconciliation in the country as China has all three elements required for this role.
“China is a neighbour. China is a friend of both Afghanistan and Pakistan. China is a major world power,” he said, adding that China has the capacity, means, and connections to contribute to Afghan peace and stability.
Karzai said that he believed that the trilateral dialogue mechanism between China, Afghanistan and Pakistan will play an important role in easing the situation in Afghanistan, improving relations between Afghanistan and Pakistan and promoting regional peace by controlling terrorism and extremism. The Afghan side welcomed the trilateral mechanism and appreciated the Chinese government’s efforts to make it work.
“Since there is now a new effort by the United States to bring peace to Afghanistan, we hope that the US will seek China’s assistance in this and work together with China, our other big neighbours, and major power Russia,” he said. “So, the three joining hands will surely make contributions to Afghan peace and stability.”
Karzai also spoke highly of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) proposed by Xi. Afghanistan was one of the earliest countries to support the initiative.
Chinese businesses have been involved in the mining and the oil and gas sectors in Afghanistan. In 2008, a consortium launched by China Metallurgical Group and Jiangxi Copper won the contract to recover resources from the Mes Aynak copper mine in Afghanistan, which Afghan authorities said contains the world’s second-largest copper deposit.
Afghanistan welcomes China’s investment in Afghanistan, and the country is seeking more Chinese involvement in the Afghan economy, he said.
Karzai also welcomed Xi’s proposal to build a community with a shared future for mankind, saying that it is a “tremendously good vision”.
“That is a vision that we all need, and that mankind needs,” he said. “And surely China will find people in the international community all around the world, individuals and societies and governments, working together with it and helping achieve this goal.”
Karzai also said that Afghanistan can learn from China’s development experience as its economic growth has been phenomenal, and the Afghan government must make reasonable policies to bring benefits to its people. He said that it is important for Afghanistan to find a development path that suits its conditions in order to achieve national development.