A top Chinese diplomat has expressed opposition with an abrupt withdrawal of US troops from Afghanistan, he urged collective international efforts to help initiate a peace process between the warring parties.
China has underlined the imperative of direct negotiations between Kabul and Taliban on ending the four-decade conflict in Afghanistan.
Lijian Zhao, China’s deputy ambassador in Islamabad, called for a negotiated end to the war in Afghanistan. The diplomat suggested a political settlement.
There have been unconfirmed media reports suggesting President Donald Trump has ordered pulling out half of the more than 14,000 US troops from the conflict-devastated country.
Speaking to a Pakistani TV channel, the envoy said: “The US has been in Afghanistan for 17 years. If they are leaving the country, they should try to leave in a gradual and a responsible way.”
He also emphasized the need for the Taliban and Afghan government to sit together and negotiate a political resolution to a war he said has been going on for nearly 40 years.
Only an Afghan-led and Afghan-owned process supported by international partners of Afghanistan could help end the hostilities, Lijian noted.
“If a civil war broke out after the US withdrawal, the first countries affected will be Pakistan, will be China, and it will be the immediate neighbors. So, we have to sit together with the parties concerned so that we start a peace process,” he said.
Pakistan, China, and other immediate neighbors would be the worst sufferers if the US drawdown triggered a civil strife in Afghanistan, the deputy ambassador said.