US eagerness to exit Afghanistan leaves mess for region: China

Beijing says hasty US withdrawal from Afghanistan exposes ‘hypocrisy’ behind guise of defending democracy, human rights.

ANKARA (AA) – China accused the US on Friday of rushing to withdraw from Afghanistan and leaving a “mess for the region.”

“The US is eager to withdraw its troops from Afghanistan and leave the mess to the Afghan people and regional countries,” spokesman Wang Wenbin of China’s Foreign Ministry told a news conference in the capital Beijing.

Wang said this exposed Washington’s “hypocrisy behind its guise of defending democracy and human rights.”

The statement came as the US and allied forces are in the process of exiting Afghanistan following 20 years of occupation that started in 2001 against the Taliban, accused of harboring the al-Qaeda terror group.

Under a deal signed between the US and Taliban in the Qatari capital Doha in February 2020, foreign forces were supposed to have made a complete withdrawal by a May 1 deadline which was later unilaterally extended by the Joe Biden administration until Sept. 11 this year.

Around 90% of US forces have left the war-torn country.

Wang also urged Washington to “have a clear understanding of the global trend … follow the trend of the times, make the right choice and meet China half way.”

“China-US relations now stand at a new historical juncture. The choice between hostility, confrontation and mutual respect, between decoupling and open cooperation, is of great interest to people in both countries and international community,” Wang said, marking the 50th anniversary of a visit to China by the US then-Secretary of State Henry Kissinger.

‘China will safeguard interests of its firms’

Referring to the Biden administration’s recent move to blacklist several more Chinese firms over Beijing’s alleged human rights abuses of Uyghur Muslims and other groups, along with high-tech surveillance, in its northwestern autonomous region of Xinjiang, Wang said China would take measures against Washington’s decision.

“China will take all necessary measures to safeguard its companies’ legal interests and to crack US’ attempt of interfering in China’s internal affairs,” said Wang, according to the Chinese daily Global Times.

Since administration of former President Donald Trump, Washington has blacklisted many Chinese firms for excesses against Uyghurs in Xinjiang.

After they are blacklisted, the companies face tough scrutiny at the US Commerce Department when they seek permission to receive items from US suppliers.

Last month, the US had listed five Chinese entities “for accepting or utilizing forced labor in the implementation of the People’s Republic of China’s campaign of repression against Muslim minority groups in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region.”

China has rejected accusations of genocide and forced labor in Xinjiang.

Under Trump, the US targeted more than 20 Chinese companies besides media organizations listing them as those linked to China’s ruling Communist Party.

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