"The US and the EU should step up and assume greater responsibilities in Afghanistan since they are to blame for the ongoing mess"
Former Chinese ambassador to Uzbekistan, Yu Hongjun, spoke w/ the Observer about the US and NATO's planned withdrawal and China's role in🇦🇫
2/ On April 14, US President Joe Biden announced that the remaining 2,500 US troops in Afghanistan will be completely withdrawn on September 11, 2021, exactly 20 years after the terrorist attacks by Al-Qaeda, bringing an end to the country's longest war in history.
3/ Shanghai-based news portal the Observer (Guancha) sat down for an interview with Yu Hongjun, Former Ambassador to Uzbekistan and Vice President of the Chinese People's Association for Peace and Disarmament (CPAPD), to discuss the future of Afghanistan, the prospects for…
4/ …successful peace talks, and China's role therein vis-à-vis Russia and the US.
Yu emphasized China's historic contributions to Afghanistan's postwar reconstruction and peace mediation, including its active participation in the Bonn International Conference on Afghanistan,
5/ economic cooperation through the Belt and Road Initiative, and two proposals for a political solution to the conflict.
6/ After insinuating that the US and NATO have been pursuing their own selfish interests in AF under the guise of counter-terrorism, Yu indicated that CN intends to take advantage of the opportunity provided by their withdrawal to raise the level of their strategic partnership
7/ Yu argued that economic reconstruction, infrastructure construction, development, and political stability are all necessary for peace in AF, in line with China's diplomatic approach to conflict mediation based on the principle of "Peace through Development" (h/t @guyjsburton)
8/ To this end, China could play a significant role through joint efforts like the BRI, the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, and the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) (h/t @evaseiwert).
9/ Nonetheless, Yu expects that foreign aid from the international community will continue to flow, at least during the transition period, because Afghanistan lacks the economic foundation to support itself.
10/ The EU and the US are no exception; on the contrary, they must shoulder a greater role, due to their share of the blame in the ongoing "mess".
11/ Yu, contrary to popular belief, does not believe that a power vacuum will emerge following the withdrawal because the government of incumbent President Ashraf Ghani will remain in place.
12/ However, Yu believes that the only way to keep the peace between the Taliban and Ghani is to form a coalition government, backed by international support, at least for the transitional period.
13/ If it fails and a power vacuum does emerge, Yu proposes that the UN step in to keep the peace and ensure that "no country or force will make a comeback."
Finally, Yu refutes the notion that the US' pivot to the Asia-Pacific in order to compete with China means it will abandon its focus on the ME, Iran, and AF.
Not only will the US remain a key player, but Yu believes that development in the ME would be impossible without it.
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