By Mansoor Faizy-KABUL: Relations between Afghanistan and China have been warm and friendly during every period of time. The relationship goes back to the history of Silk Road which has thousands years history. China has been engaged in peaceful and non-aggressive policies in the globe, particularly in regard to Afghanistan. After the fall of the Taliban regime, China helped Afghanistan in every sector, currently considered as largest foreign investors in Afghanistan. The fortunate point is that we share border with China, and never had any conflict issues in the course of history. Our leaders are visiting China aimed at further strengthening ties. Kabul and Beijing are time-tested friends and none can divide them. In recent years, the exchanges between China and Afghanistan have been on the rise. High-level visits have been frequent, economic and trade cooperation has been further expanded and deepening in educational and cultural exchanges has been witnessed. With the development of the relationship between the two countries, more and more officials, intellectuals and ordinary people in both countries have realized the importance and necessary of strengthening cooperation with each other. In addition, since the establishment of the Confucius Institute at Kabul University in 2008, it has given an effective impetus in the exchanges and cooperation in the educational and cultural fields between China and Afghanistan. So far, more than 100 Chinese undergraduates have been graduated from Confucius Institute at Kabul University. Nearly 10 master degree holders and two prospective PHD holders has been sponsored by it. These Chinese talents are widely employed in the Afghan government departments, international organizations, Chinese or other foreign embassies and business areas, which has greatly strengthened and deepened cooperation between China and Afghanistan. Moreover, the ‘Belt and Road’ initiative has enabled more people with visions in Afghanistan to have realized this great opportunity for development and therefore, the Confucius Institute at Kabul University organized the 2017 Afghan Youth Leaders’ visits to China. The aim of this visit was to further strengthening the friendly exchanges between the two countries and promote mutual understanding between the outstanding youth of the peoples, and making the ‘Belt and Road’ initiative in Afghanistan more widely known to people in Afghanistan from all walks of life.
The Afghan Youth Leaders’ from different organizations, including Presidential Palace, Chief Executive Office, official from National Security Adviser, Editor-in-Chief of Afghanistan Times, the leading daily English newspaper, Deputy Head of Kabul News , the leading TV channel and other governmental and none government offices left Kabul to Urumqi on 07th June 2017 aimed at further strengthening ties. At morning of 08th June we meet with some Chinese company and left for Beijing from Urumqi in afternoon for five days visit. On 09th June the Afghan Youth Leader’ visited Hanban (Confucius Headquarters) and met with leaders and other officials working there in the morning, then visited the Ministry of Education in the afternoon. A wide range of discussion in education areas were made, in which Afghan Youth Leaders’ asked Chinese Ministry of Education to help Afghanistan in providing education facilities to the Afghan children. On 11th June we visited Afghanistan Embassy in Beijing. All the Youth leaders’ were very keen to visit the ambassador from near, but unfortunately he did not meet us. We left the embassy without meeting him. On 12th June, we visited the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the People’s Republic of China. “Since longtime, China has been providing ground assistance to Afghanistan-built some hospitals, schools and other infrastructures, and would continue doing this,” Chen Feng, Counselor and Division Director of Chinese Foreign Affairs said. He also termed China as a supporter to the reconstruction and development of new Afghanistan and would always stand beside the country. He said this during a meeting with Afghan Youth Leaders Delegation in Beijing, the capital city, adding that his country is also making efforts to bring peace and stability in Afghanistan.
“China is also facilitating peace and reconciliation process in Afghanistan, hope the county can reach to peace and stability as soon as possible,” he added. He furthered, “we have been pushing to help international cooperation to support this process,” he said, referring to the Afghan-led and Afghan-owned peace and reconciliation process. Regarding the ‘Belt and Road” initiative, he said that Afghanistan has a very important position in all Silk Road. “Afghanistan’s geographical position is very unique—it connects West Asia, East Asia, Central Asia and South Asia. Afghanistan is playing a role of bridge connecting these Asian countries,” he said, adding that China is also a development partner of Afghanistan. Moreover, Afghan and Chinese officials during meeting in Astana of Kazakhstan have emphasized on enhancing cooperation, economy connectivity, infrastructures, and people-to-people connectivity.
On 13th June, we visited Xinhua News Agency and China Foreign Affairs University in the afternoon. On 14th June visited Chinese Academy of Social Science in the morning and the Ministry of Commerce. On 15th June visited Communist Youth League of China in the morning and left to Taiyuan city by bullet train the afternoon. On 16th June met with leaders of TYUT in the morning and visited Afghan students at afternoon. Afghan students and Youth leaders have disused several issues. Meeting students gave us feeling like home as there were over 90 Afghan students currently are pursing education in Taiyuan University.
On 17th June we left for Taiyuan city for Shanghai by air in order to see development made in Shanghai. On the 18th June we visited Shanghais Pudong district to learn about the ABC of the reform and development of Shanghai—to the Oriental Pearl Radio and TV Tower and the Bund business area and experience its business culture. On 19th June visited Fudan University in the morning and Shanghai Cooperation Organization in the afternoon. On 20th June met with Afghan businessmen doing business in the Yangtze River Delta area, and left for Shenzhen by air. On 21th June visited Huawei Headquarters in Shenzhen. On 22th June visited Window of the World theme park and left for Guangzhou in the evening. One 23rd met Afghan businessmen doing business in Guangzhou and on 24th June returned Kabul from Guangzhou, Dubai as transit. What we have learned from these meetings is that China is fully committed to support Afghanistan, reciprocally; Afghanistan always tried level best to have great relations with China. Kabul and Beijing are enjoying friendly relationships and none can deteriorate this relationship. Through different ups and downs, relations between Afghanistan and China were remained friendly. Afghanistan considers China as its brother, and a brother wants everything from a brother, thus we want China to help us in every sector in order to reach to durable peace and stability. Increasing Afghan-China cooperation can serve as the ballast for Afghanistan stability and the propeller for the regional peace. Undoubtedly, China has strong potentiality to make important contribution to Afghanistan’s stability, and we saw that power from near. The overall visit was like a win-win scenario and the Afghan Youth Leaders’ are looking for more role of China aimed at bringing peace and stability to the war-hit country.