'PRINCIPAL PARTNER': Taliban names China as closest ally

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The Taliban have declared China their closest ally, describing the country as their “principal partner".

According to the Islamist militia, China has promised to keep its embassy in Kabul open and will “beef up” relations, saying Beijing is “ready to invest in and reconstruct” Afghanistan.

“China is our principal partner and for us represents a fundamental and extraordinary opportunity because it’s ready to invest in and reconstruct our country," Zabihullah Mujahid, spokesman for the fundamentalist group, told Italian newspaper La Repubblica.

Pictured are Taliban co-founder Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar and Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi.
Taliban co-founder Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar and Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi meeting in Tianjin, China. Source: AP

China is one of the few countries which did not evacuate its staff from the Kabul embassy when the Taliban entered the city.

The news comes as the Taliban says they now have full control of Afghanistan after seizing the Panjshir Valley, where opposition forces had been holding out. 

China could help revive Afghan copper mining

Mr Mujahid said the Chinese would help to revive Afghan copper mining.

According to analysts, a stable and cooperative administration in Kabul could pave the way for major Chinese infrastructural and other investments in Afghanistan, including its copper and lithium mines. 

Photo of members of the Taliban displaying the flag.
The Taliban seized control of Kabul on August 15. Source: AP/Rahmat Gul

“We hold in high regard the One Belt One Road project that will serve to revive the ancient Silk Road," Mr Mujahid told La Repubblica.

“Beyond that, we have rich copper mines which thanks to the Chinese can be brought back into production and modernised.

"China represents our passport towards the markets of the whole world.”

Taliban says last Afghan region has fallen

Three Taliban sources said the Islamist militia seized the Panjshir Valley, north of Kabul, on Friday (local time), the last part of Afghanistan holding out against the fundamentalist group.

"By the grace of Allah Almighty, we are in control of the entire Afghanistan. The troublemakers have been defeated and Panjshir is now under our command," one Taliban commander said.

The Taliban seized Kabul on August 15 after sweeping across most of the country in a lightning-fast takeover. 

President Ashraf Ghani fled the country as the militants entered the capital virtually unopposed, saying he wanted to avoid bloodshed, while hundreds of Afghans desperate tried to leave Kabul airport.

Sources in the Islamist group say Taliban co-founder Mullah Baradar will lead a new Afghan government that could be announced soon.

They said Mr Baradar, who heads the Taliban's political office, will be joined by Mullah Mohammad Yaqoob, the son of late Taliban founder Mullah Omar, and Sher Mohammad Abbas Stanekzai in senior positions.

"All the top leaders have arrived in Kabul, where preparations are in final stages to announce the new government," one Taliban official told Reuters on condition of anonymity.

with AAP

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