The Chinese government announced on Wednesday that it will provide $31 million in various aid supplies to the war-torn nation of Afghanistan, in a move that may be seen as an effort to strengthen relations between the two nations, according to CNN.
The announcement was made by China’s Foreign Ministry, with spokesperson Hua Chunyin declaring that the supplies would be “for emergency use to the Afghan people.” The aid will include food, COVID-19 vaccines, winter weather supplies, and medicine, among other things. Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said that the nation will also donate 3 million vaccine doses to Afghanistan.
Wang also leveled criticism at the United States in the aftermath of the failed withdrawal from Afghanistan, saying that the U.S. should “assume their responsibilities” and provide humanitarian aid to the nation while also “respecting the sovereignty and independence of Afghanistan.”
The decision is a strategic one for China, as the two nations share a 50-mile border along China’s Xinjiang region. Chinese diplomats had previously met with Taliban leaders in July, with Wang referring to the Taliban afterward as “an important military and political force in Afghanistan,” which would play “an important role in the country’s peace, reconciliation, and reconstruction process.” The Taliban responded in kind, referring to China as a “good friend,” and vowed to “never allow any forces to use the Afghan territory to engage in acts detrimental to China.”
Roughly one month after that meeting, the Taliban seized control of the entire country after taking the capital city of Kabul on August 15th, while American forces were still hastily withdrawing from the nation. There was allegedly little to no planning by the Biden Administration, which resulted in a chaotic withdrawal that saw no vetting of alleged “refugees” attempting to flee Afghanistan, with crowds rushing the airports and some Afghan civilians even clinging to departing U.S. aircraft before falling to their deaths as the planes took off. Biden has been widely criticized for the poor execution of the departure, which has undermined global confidence in the United States and emboldened rival nations such as China.