Beijing [China], January 22 (ANI): Chinese Foreign Minister Qin Gang on Saturday held a phone conversation with Taliban acting foreign minister Amir Khan Muttaqi and asked him to ensure the safety of Chinese citizens in Afghanistan.
Qin said that China attaches great importance to the safety of Chinese personnel and institutions in Afghanistan as the Spring Festival approaches, hoping that the Afghan side will take strong measures to ensure their safety, Xinhua news agency reported.
Muttaqi said that Afghanistan prohibits any forces from using its territory for activities that sabotage the Afghanistan-China friendship and undermine China's interests.
"The country will resolutely combat all forms of terrorism and take strong measures to ensure the safety of Chinese personnel and institutions in Afghanistan," he added.
Qin said China highly values cooperation with Afghanistan and always respects the independent choices made by the Afghan people, their religious beliefs and ethnic customs.
The Taliban earlier this month announced a deal with a Chinese company to enable oil extraction in the Amu Darya basin in northern Afghanistan, raising alarm bells in the west.
The signing ceremony of the over USD 500 million deal took place on January 5 in the presence of the Chinese envoy to Afghanistan Wang Yu, and other high-ranking Taliban officials, including Abdul Ghani Baradar, the acting deputy prime minister for economic affairs.
"The agreement, the Taliban's first major energy investment contract since its 2021 takeover, represents China's growing strategic interest in the Islamic Emirate," wrote, Washington-based researcher Kyle Sajoyan in the "19fortyfive" publication.
"Despite the growing number of terrorist attacks targeting Chinese nationals in the region, the PRC is showing no signs of stopping its global imperial project in the Muslim world," he added.
This deal comes amid rising violence against Chinese nationals in Taliban-run Afghanistan. Last month, gunmen from ISIS-K targeted a Kabul hotel popular with Chinese businessmen.
Despite the growing terrorist threat targeting Beijing, it signed a massive deal to exploit the country's oil reserves. (ANI)