Pakistan welcomes Taliban’s desire to join China-Pakistan Economic Corridor
By Islamuddin Sajid
ISLAMABAD (AA): Pakistan on Monday welcomed a statement by Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid on their desire to join the multi-billion-dollar China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).
“It is a very good thing if they join the CPEC,” said Pakistani Interior Minister Sheikh Rashid Ahmed, speaking to reporters in Islamabad.
“The CPEC is the jugular vein of Pakistan, and the friendship between Pakistan and China is higher than the Himalayas.”
He added that the Taliban are going to form their government in Kabul and they assured Pakistan that Afghan soil will not be used against its neighbors.
“The Taliban assured our concerned people and we assured them that our soil will not be used against them,” he noted.
He was referring to the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan, a consortium of several militant outfits in Pakistan, which Islamabad said were based in Afghanistan and carrying out attacks against its forces and civilians across the border.
Earlier Monday, Taliban spokesman Mujahid, addressing a news conference in Kabul, said they want good relations with neighbors and want to join the flagship project of Beijing’s Belt and Road Initiative.
He said the Taliban want “good relations” with all neighbors, including China. “Peace and stability are pre-requisite for investments (in Afghanistan),” Mujahid said in response to a question on potential Chinese investments in Afghanistan.
The $64-billion CPEC — a network of roads, railways and pipelines — is aiming to connect China’s strategically important northwestern Xinxiang province to the port of Gawadar in Pakistan’s southwestern Balochistan province.
While the corridor will give China easy access to Africa and the Mideast, it will make Pakistan earn billions of dollars and spur business activities along the road network replacing the fabled Silk Road.
[Photo: Taliban spokesperson Zabihullah Mujahid holds a press conference in Kabul, Afghanistan on September 06, 2021grapher where he said Taliban would support CPEC. Photographer: Haroon Sabawoon/AA]
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