KABUL: A new Chinese ambassador presented his credentials to the Taliban’s prime minister in Kabul today, Afghan officials said, adding it was the first appointment of a foreign envoy at the ambassadorial level since the Taliban took power in 2021.
The Taliban have not been officially recognised by any foreign government. It was not immediately clear if today’s appointment signalled any steps by Beijing towards formal recognition of the Taliban.
China’s foreign ministry did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
“Mohammad Hassan Akhund, the Prime Minister of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan, accepted the credentials of Mr Zhao Xing, the new Chinese ambassador to Afghanistan, during a ceremony,” said the Taliban administration’s deputy spokesman, Bilal Karimi, in a statement.
A Taliban administration foreign ministry spokesman confirmed he was the first ambassador appointed since August 2021 when the Taliban took over as foreign forces withdrew.
China’s previous ambassador to Afghanistan, Wang Yu, took up the role in 2019 and finished his tenure last month.
Other nations and international delegations, such as Pakistan and the European Union, have sent senior diplomats to lead diplomatic missions in Kabul but they have taken on a “charge d’affaires” title, usually meaning they are responsible for ambassadorial duties but do not formally hold the role of ambassador.
Some ambassadors appointed during the previous foreign-backed Afghan government have also stayed in Kabul with the same title.
The Taliban entered the capital on Aug 15, 2021, as the Afghan security forces, set up with years of Western support, disintegrated and US-backed President Ashraf Ghani fled.