China's foreign minister Wang Yi slams 'hurried' US withdrawal from Afghanistan

Mr Wang Yi said that China was willing to communicate with Washington to help prevent a new civil war or humanitarian disaster. PHOTO: REUTERS

WASHINGTON (REUTERS) - Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi told US Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Monday (Aug 16) that the hasty pullout of United States troops from Afghanistan had a "serious negative impact", but pledged to work with Washington to promote stability in the country.

Thousands of civilians desperate to flee Afghanistan thronged Kabul airport's single runway on Monday after the Taleban seized the capital in the face of the US military drawdown there.

President Joe Biden blamed the Taleban's takeover of Afghanistan on Afghan political leaders who fled the country and the unwillingness of the Afghan army to fight the militant group.

The US State Department said in a short statement that Mr Blinken spoke with Mr Wang about "the security situation and our respective efforts to bring US and PRC citizens to safety", using the acronym for the People's Republic of China.

It said Mr Blinken had spoken separately to Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov.

Mr Wang told Mr Blinken that the facts on the ground in Afghanistan proved that a foreign model could not be arbitrarily applied to a country with different cultural and historical conditions, according to a Chinese state media report.

"Using force and military means to resolve problems will just increase them. The lessons of this deserve serious reflection," China's state broadcaster CCTV cited Mr Wang as saying.

Mr Wang said that China was willing to communicate with Washington to help prevent a new civil war or humanitarian disaster after the "serious negative impact" of Washington's "hurried withdrawal" of troops.

"But the United States cannot on one hand actively seek to contain and suppress China and harm China's legitimate rights and interests, and on the other hand hope for China's cooperation," Mr Wang said.

He also criticised the US for removing the East Turkestan Islamic Movement (ETIM) from its list of terrorist groups, saying that it showed US double standards on counter-terrorism.

Beijing has concerns that ETIM is active in neighbouring Afghanistan and wants to create a separate state in China's western region of Xinjiang, where Chinese authorities have set up mass detention camps which they say are aimed at vocational training to curb extremism.

The US government says ETIM no longer exists as a formal organisation and is instead a broad label that China uses to oppress a variety of Muslim ethnic groups, including Uighurs in Xinjiang.

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