The Afghan Taliban has described China as its "most important partner," saying it looks to Beijing to rebuild Afghanistan and exploit the country's rich copper deposits as the war-torn country faces widespread hunger and economic collapse.
Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said the group supports China's One Belt, One Road initiative, which aims to build a massive network of ports, railways, roads, and industrial parks to connect China with Africa, Asia, and Europe.
In an interview with an Italian newspaper on Thursday, Mujahid said, "China is our most important partner and represents a fundamental and extraordinary opportunity for us because it is ready to invest and rebuild our country."
There are a few "The country has abundant copper mines that, thanks to the Chinese, can be reopened and modernised. Furthermore, China serves as our gateway to global markets "Zabihullah Mujahid stated.
China has made some encouraging statements about the Taliban, expressing the hope that its feared leadership will pursue moderate and prudent domestic and foreign policies, combat all forms of terrorism, live in peace with other nations, and live up to the aspirations of its own people and the international community.
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin said on Tuesday that "facts show that in realising economic development we need an open inclusive political structure, implementation of moderate foreign and domestic policies, and a clean break from terrorist groups in all areas," adding that China respects Afghanistan's sovereignty and will not interfere.
According to Zabihullah Mujahid, the Taliban see Russia as an important partner in the region and will maintain good relations with Moscow.
On August 15, the Taliban took control of Kabul, Afghanistan's capital. On August 31, the last foreign troops left the country, bringing a 20-year war to an end amid fears of economic collapse and widespread hunger.
Following the tumultuous departure, Western countries have severely curtailed aid to Afghanistan.
United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres warned earlier this week of an impending "humanitarian catastrophe" in Afghanistan, urging countries to provide emergency funding as severe drought and war have forced thousands of families to flee their homes.
Mr. Guterres expressed his "grave concern" about the country's "deepening humanitarian and economic crisis," saying that basic services were on the verge of "complete collapse."
The Taliban have hinted that a formal government structure is on the way, amid fears of economic collapse and widespread hunger.