China is the Taliban’s “principal partner” in the international community, the Islamist group has said in its strongest signal yet of diplomatic priorities.

Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid on Thursday claimed Beijing was “ready to invest in and reconstruct” Afghanistan as he set out hopes that China would provide a gateway into global markets.

His remarks offer the clearest indication to date of the diplomatic direction in which the Taliban is turning, as well as how it intends to solve the economic crisis crippling the country.

Mr Mujahid said the Chinese would revive Afghan copper mining and production as he expressed admiration for the One Belt One Road project under which China extends significant loans to other countries to invest in infrastructure.

Why is the Taliban willing to overlook China's dismal treatment of its Uighur Muslim population? I understand that economic growth is a priority for them to maintain long-term rule over the country, but I am wondering why they are willing to overlook China's dismal treatment of its Uighur Muslim population and even go as far as to say that China is its biggest ally without expressing any concern for China's treatment of its Uighur Muslim population. Is there a particular reason for this?

  • 19
    The Taliban seem to have no problems waging genocide against their own people, why would it have particular issue with China doing the same to people in its territory?
    – user16741
    Commented Sep 4, 2021 at 11:24
  • Related Q about the Muslim part: Link.
    – Jack_here
    Commented Mar 11 at 1:04
  • Except for those parts of the Third World that are deeply influenced by developed countries, they are generally unwilling to acknowledge the West’s human rights accusations against Xinjiang. Western media reports are generally contrary to those reported by third world journalists traveling to Xinjiang. They choose to report on the declining birth rate and suspicion that some school buildings are concentration camps, but choose not to report on the increasing Muslim population and anti-terrorism operations. It is difficult to admit that these accusations are rational and fair.
    – Jack_here
    Commented Mar 11 at 1:04
  • The Telegraph is an Islamophobic rag. I would not accept anything that it says that is even vaguely on the topic of Muslims and Islam. Do you have any other source for your claim?
    – Ben Cohen
    Commented Mar 11 at 23:20

2 Answers 2


China was the 3rd largest trade partner of Afghanistan (after India and Pakistan) even while the US was heavily involved in Afghanistan (although I'm not sure how one compares trade with aid quantitively for a better appreciation of the relative importance). In any case, the US is gone from the region and not showing signs of wanting to recognize the Taliban as a government. Furthermore, the combination of factors of the relations between India and Pakistan being pretty bad, the Taliban being seen as an ally/proxy of Pakistan in India, and Pakistan itself not being capable of doing much foreign investment (rather being in need of plenty), basically means that China is likely to be the main source of such foreign investment for Afghanistan.

As discussed in answers to a related question, China is involved in significant infrastructure projects in the neighboring Pakistan already, and has some mining concessions in Afghanistan ongoing. China is basically willing to work in/with these regions that other countries aren't too willing to deal with, presently.

On another tack, it's well known that China is quite sensitive to criticism of their policy in Xinjiang; boycotts of Western brands that took a stance (even with an odd TV-censorship twist) etc. So it's not too surprising that countries that are more dependent on China economically have not been very vocal about the situation in Xinjiang... even when they have Muslim majority population. I asked a question here about Pakistan's official reactions to Xinjiang: the reactions were pretty muted and mostly limited to private channels.


The Taliban are an Afghan group first, and are Muslims second. Their primary goal is to secure their own country, not to launch a holy war against foreigners outside of Afghanistan.

China is offering them trade and diplomatic recognition, and the means to rebuild their country.

The Uighur aren't Afghans.

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