BERLIN (dpa) – Afghanistan welcomes Chinese efforts to facilitate peace in the conflict-ridden country, President Ashraf Ghani said in Berlin Friday, emphasising China’s influence over neighbouring Pakistan.
“China is acting as a responsible stakeholder,” he said. “We welcome the intense dialogue, particularly because China has had a long-lasting friendship with Pakistan and their weight in assuming a facilitating role in peace will be welcome.”
Kabul has chafed with Islamabad in the past over what is perceived as a safe haven for Taleban rebels in parts of Pakistan’s tribal areas and allegations that the Taleban gets support from Pakistani intelligence services.
“China and Afghanistan now face joint threats because China’s stability is threatened by networks of terror and violence that operate around us,” he said after talks with Chancellor Angela Merkel.
Merkel said Germany wished Ghani’s new government “every success” in uniting Afghanistan and building up a sufficiently strong army after western forces officially cease combat duties at the end of this month.
In the German parliament, Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier appealed to legislators to back the retention of some German troops in Afghanistan.
The Merkel government wants to keep 850 military personnel on the ground as part of a mission code-named “Resolute Support”, but requires parliamentary authorisation by a vote this month. The issue must first be debated in committee.
“If Afghanistan is ever to stand on its own two feet, it needs support,” Steinmeier said.