China Accuses U.S. of ‘Murder’ in Afghanistan, Gives Taliban a Pass

TOPSHOT - An Imam speaks next to an armed Taliban fighter during Friday prayers at the Abdul Rahman Mosque in Kabul on August 20, 2021, following the Taliban's stunning takeover of Afghanistan. (Photo by Hoshang Hashimi / AFP) (Photo by HOSHANG HASHIMI/AFP via Getty Images)
Hoshang Hashimi/AFP/Getty Images

The Chinese Foreign Ministry railed against the alleged American “murder of civilians” in Afghanistan on Wednesday in notably sterner remarks than anything Beijing has said about the Taliban.

Beijing – currently engaging in genocide against several of its Muslim-majority ethnic minorities – has urged the world not to sanction the Taliban, a jihadist organization with a decades-old history of committing human rights atrocities. Chinese officials and state media outlets have touted the Taliban leadership’s claim of being a reformed, “inclusive” terrorist organization and encouraged the world, especially the United States, to invest financially in the Taliban’s attempts at establishing itself as a stable Afghan government.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin made the remarks Wednesday in response to a question from a reporter at the Global Times, China’s most belligerent English-language government propaganda newspaper.

“Public reports show the U.S. killing of innocent people in Afghanistan happened frequently,” Wang claimed, referring specifically to an incident last week in which a U.S. airstrike allegedly killed ten civilians, most of them children. Pentagon officials justified the strike last week claiming that intelligence had confirmed that the target of the strike was a car full of suicide bombers, armed and prepared for an imminent attack on Kabul’s international airport. Suicide bombers targeted the airport last week, killing nearly 200 people including 13 American servicemembers.

Taliban fighters patrol on a pick-up vehicle along in a street in Kabul on August 31, 2021 after the US pulled all its troops out of the country to end a brutal 20-year war — one that started and ended with the hardline Islamist in power. (HOSHANG HASHIMI/AFP via Getty Images)

“The U.S. forces have withdrawn from Afghanistan. But the murder of civilians by the US forces and their allies over the past 20 years must be investigated thoroughly and the killers must be brought to justice,” Wang asserted. “The lives of Afghan people should be protected and the human rights of Afghan people should be defended. At stake is international justice and the rule of law and world human rights development.”

Wang went on to list several alleged examples of American human rights abuses in Afghanistan.

In contrast to his call for “justice” against America in its role in Afghanistan, Wang expressed hope in the Taliban that it would create an “open and inclusive political structure, adopt moderate and prudent domestic and foreign policies, make a clean break with all terrorist groups and live in good terms with other countries, especially its neighbors.”

“Chairman Mao Zedong once said that Afghanistan is a heroic country and has never surrendered,” Wang continued. “China and Afghanistan are friendly countries. China does not want to harm Afghanistan, and Afghanistan does not want to harm China.”

Wang did not mention the Taliban by name in his remarks on Wednesday.

The Global Times on Tuesday branded Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin’s remarks about the Biden administration’s exit from Afghanistan as “disgusting,” America’s involvement in Afghanistan generally as “stupid,” and America’s foreign policy as “despicable.”

The Afghan withdrawal, the Chinese government publication claimed, was a “turning point … showing that the US will find the next target to do evil. Such evildoing is low-end in US politics.”

The Chinese Communist Party has spent months, if not years, aggressively developing its ties to the Taliban in anticipation of the fall of Afghanistan’s former government, which occurred on August 15. In the immediate aftermath of the takeover, Beijing celebrated the violent ouster of the Kabul government as “the choice and will of the Afghan people” and encouraged the world to invest in “an open and inclusive Islamic government” under the Taliban.

The Taliban jihadist organization has for decades maintained ties to international terrorist organizations like al-Qaeda and remains closely linked to the Haqqani Network, an al-Qaeda affiliate specializing in terrorist bombings. Almost immediately following the Taliban’s arrival in Kabul, widespread reports began surfacing of jihadists beating civilians in the street, including U.S. citizens, and engaging in extreme abuses against women. Taliban officials ordered women not to leave their homes indefinitely and reportedly launched raids seeking to find and kill Christians and other religious minorities in the country.

Members of the Taliban Badri 313 military unit take a position at the airport in Kabul on August 31, 2021, after the US has pulled all its troops out of the country to end a brutal 20-year war -- one that started and ended with the hardline Islamist in power. (Photo by WAKIL KOHSAR / AFP) (Photo by WAKIL KOHSAR/AFP via Getty Images)

Members of the Taliban Badri 313 military unit take a position at the airport in Kabul on August 31, 2021, after the US has pulled all its troops out of the country. ( WAKIL KOHSAR/AFP via Getty)

Rather than condemn these actions, Chinese government propagandists urged regular Chinese citizens not to make “impulsive or irrational” judgments against the Taliban.

“[T]he practical effect of judging the Taliban from an ethical perspective and asking China to disdain [the] Taliban diplomatically is to cater to Washington’s policy in Afghanistan and to benefit the US,” the editor-in-chief of the Global Times, Hu Xijin, wrote.

Taliban spokesmen, in turn, have effusively praised the Communist Party as a “friendly” actor in the region, loudly refusing to condemn human rights atrocities committed against Muslims in China despite claiming to be representative of the ummah, or global Muslim community. Years of research by governments and human rights organizations have unveiled a widespread plot to kill, imprison, enslave, and sterilize members of China’s Uyghur minority, and other Muslim ethnic minorities, in Xinjiang, a region bordering Afghanistan. The U.S. government has formally decreed the practices a genocide.

“China, our great neighboring country, can have a constructive and positive role in the reconstruction of Afghanistan,” Taliban spokesman Suhail Shaheen told the South China Morning Post this week, “and also in the economic development and prosperity of the people of Afghanistan. It is expected [that] China [will] play its role.”

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