Beijing [China], September 19 (ANI): China is worried over the Taliban promises to crack down on the Uyghur separatist group East Turkistan Islamic Movement (ETIM).
The Afghan Taliban spokesperson Suhail Shaheen said in an exclusive interview with the Chinese English daily the Global Times on September 9, that many ETIM members had been told to leave Afghanistan because the Taliban had categorically told them that Afghanistan can't be used to launch attacks against other countries.
The statement drew immediate attention from China, with Chinese authorities raising concerns over the fate of the Uyghur separatist group after the Taliban took control of Afghanistan, reported The HK Post.
China has branded ETIM as "the most dangerous and extremist terrorist groups that aim to split the Xinjiang region from China, the ETIM has been accountable for hundreds of terror attacks in China, especially in Northwest China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region," reported The HK Post.
The Taliban statement has raised doubts over the sincerity of the Taliban regime, with China now wary on whether the Afghan Taliban will keep its promise to crack down on the ETIM remains uncertain, reported The HK Post.
Given their complicated relations between the Taliban and ETIM, this may cast obstacles for future relations between China and the Afghan Taliban.
Chinese authorities have long accused the ETIM of developing close ties with international terrorist organizations, including Al Qaeda but have offered little proof of their activities.
China has over the past few decades, claimed that ETIM has scattered across Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria and other countries in the Middle East, Central Asia and Southeast Asia, however, the elements of ETIM has not been involved in any major terrorist strike in the recent past, reported The HK Post.
Since Pakistan and China were the first countries to recognize the Taliban regime, the ETIM fighters are reportedly relocated out of Afghanistan, to Pakistan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan, China is wary that the Taliban which supported the ETIM at the border has provided safe passage to these fighters instead of handing them over to China.
Shaheen's remarks have come to haunt the Chinese diplomats and security experts. China being at the forefront of engaging with the Taliban appears to be in shock at the Afghan Taliban backtracking in its commitments to China at the very beginning of the newly found relationship, that too on the issue at the core of the so-called Chinese security interests, The HK Post.
In response to Shaheen's remarks, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian took serious note of this issue, when he told a press conference on September 10 that China has raised issues related to ETIM with the Afghan Taliban on multiple occasions, and hoped that the Afghan Taliban will honour their commitments, seize ties with ETIM, and take effective measures to resolutely crack down on these terrorist organizations within its territory.
Despite Chinese concerns about the Taliban's relations with ETIM, the facts on the ground show that the so-called threat from the Turkic militant group comprising of Uyghur minorities from Xinjiang to China is exaggerated.
The Chinese authorities are completely in control of the security situation in the restive region of Xinjiang. Chinese oppressive policies such as forced persecutions, mass arrests, indoctrination of communist values, sinicization of religion, banning Islamic rituals, imposing cultural and linguistic restrictions and making demographic changes, resulting in ethnic Uyghurs being scuttled to a minority has considerably improved the security situation in China's favour, reported The HK Post.
Meanwhile, the gamble China took to bring Afghan Taliban on its side may be failing at least in terms of finding favours on the ETIM issue, as the Taliban checkmated China over its ETIM 'brothers in arms'. (ANI)