Taliban team to visit China to boost trade
By Munawar Hasan
LAHORE-In a major development, a delegation of Taliban government will visit China during this week to hold discussions with the private Chinese businessmen and industrialists.
The delegation, led by Afghan Commercial Attache to Pakistan, will spend a week in China where private businessmen and industrialists will hold talks with the visiting members.
Visas in this connection have been issued by the Chinese government to the intending Taliban officials.
However, according to sources, the Chinese officials have refused to meet the Taliban delegation and did not give appointments to the Taliban officials for meeting with Chinese Commerce Ministry officials in the forthcoming visit.
It is to be mentioned that a group of Chinese industrialists and businessmen had visited Afghanistan few months ago.
During the visit, they held talks with the Taliban authorities and the Afghan businessmen in order to explore business and investment opportunities.
It may be mentioned that Chinese diplomats had also visited to Kandahar on December 12, 2000 to discuss likely UN sanctions with the Taliban leader Mulla Muhammad Omar.
The three-man team, headed by Lu Shulin, Ambassador to Pakistan, left Kabul aboard an Ariana Afghan Airlines Boeing 727 jet after meetings with senior officials.
The Chinese trip came in response to a Taliban plea to Beijing to veto US-Russian moves to tighten United Nations sanctions against the Afghan Government. The fresh sanctions under discussion at the Security Council included travel restrictions against Taliban officials and an arms embargo.
Earlier, the Chinese diplomats met Council of Ministers Deputy Chairman Mulla Muhammad Hassan, Interior Minister Maulawi Abdur Razzaq and Deputy Foreign Minister Abdurrahman Zahed, Afghan officials said.
However, China-Taliban relations adversely affected due to the demolition of Buddha statues. Officials as well as private Chinese organisations strongly condemned the incident.
A leading official of the Buddhist Association of China expressed shock about the destruction Buddhist statues in Bamiyan.
It is to be added that China had sent what was thought to be its highest-level delegation to Afghanistan since the ruling Taliban took over two years ago on January 31, 1999.
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