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China expects progress to be made at US-Taliban talks — ambassador to Russia

China has always believed it was impossible to achieve a peace settlement through the use of force, the ambassador stressed

MOSCOW, August 22. /TASS/. China hopes more progress will be made at the talks between the United States and the Taliban group (outlawed in Russia) and is ready to assist the national reconciliation process in Afghanistan, new Chinese Ambassador to Russia Zhang Hanhui told TASS.

"On August 3, the US and the Taliban group launched a new round of negotiations. We hope that all parties concerned will take advantage of the chance for peace, show sincerity and energy and do what they have to do. We expect new progress in peace talks so that the Afghan people can return to peace and stability as soon as possible," he said.

The diplomat stressed that China, Russia and the United States supported an inclusive Afghan-led reconciliation process in Afghanistan and were ready to provide the necessary assistance. "The three parties encourage the Afghan Taliban to maintain broad internal dialogue with other Afghans, including the government," he noted.

When asked about Beijing’s stance on the withdrawal of US troops from Afghanistan, the ambassador stressed that China had always believed that the settlement through the use of military force was impossible. "We are certain that, if Afghanistan can achieve security, stability and development at an early date, that will benefit the entire South Asian region," he concluded.

Spokesman for the Taliban’s Qatar political office Mohammad Sohail Shaheen earlier told TASS that the Taliban expected Russia and China to act as guarantors of a peace accord with the United States.

On Tuesday, the US Department of State reported that US Special Representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation Zalmay Khalilzad would travel to Qatar for another round of negotiations with the Taliban. After that, he will visit Afghanistan to discuss the peace process and preparations for the intra-Afghan talks with the country’s leadership.

The eighth round of negotiations between Washington and the Taliban group was held in Doha on August 3-12.