Afghanistan's government is teetering on the edges after the US troops withdrawal, amid a resurgence of the Taliban in all nooks and corners of the strife-torn country. With China looking at its options in Afghanistan, The Taliban has unambiguously said it welcomes China and that Beijing is a 'welcome friend'.
Meanwhile, President Joe Biden has said the Afghan people must now decide their own future and justified his decision to permanently pull the troops from country after the 20-year war.
'Afghan Government Could Collapse'
Biden underscored the Afghan military's ability to defeat the Taliban and rubbished media reports that said the US intelligence had predicted that the Afghan government could collapse in the aftermath of the US troops withdrawal.
"We achieved those objectives, that's why we went. We did not go to Afghanistan to nation build. And it's the right and the responsibility of the Afghan people alone to decide their future and how they want to run their country," Biden said at the White House on Thursday.
He said he will not commit 'another generation of American soldiers' to Afghanistan. "How many thousands more Americans, daughters and sons, were you willing to risk? How long would you have them stay?"
"I will not send another generation of Americans to war in Afghanistan with no reasonable expectation of achieving a different outcome," Biden said, according to Reuters.
August 31, Final Date
The President also set a target date of August 31 for completing the troops withdrawal. Biden also stressed the fact that the US had achieved long ago its stated objectives in Afghanistan -- which was to defeat al-Qaeda militants and prevent another attack on the US.
An Ipsos poll conducted in April had shown that the majority of Americans supported Biden's move to pull troops out of Afghanistan.
Meanwhile, in a worrisome development for the Americans and the US-supported regime in Kabul, Taliban is warming up to China. Taliban spokesman Suhail Shaheen said the group welcomed Chinese investments in the country. The militant outfit said Beijing can play a crucial role in the reconstruction of the country. It also said the outfit will guarantee the safety of investors and workers.
'We Welcome China'
The Taliban spokesperson also claimed in a exclusive interview with This Week in Asia, that the group now controlled 85 percent of the country, the SCMP reported.
"We welcome them. If they have investments of course we ensure their safety. Their safety is very important for us," the Taliban official said.
Earlier, China had also made it clear that it was willing to fill in the space left by the US. "China, along with Pakistan, is willing to continue support for all parties in Afghanistan to seek a political solution through dialogue and lead to ethnic reconciliation and long-lasting peace," Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said on Thursday.