As the coronavirus pandemic emerged in Afghanistan, China was the first neighboring state to extend its medical support, which suggests that the pandemic can bring countries on a global platform to cooperate in the fight against this common human enemy.
Initially, Chinese officials were touched with the concerns and a handful of material supports of Afghan people to China, as Wuhan first reported the outbreak. Afghans’ emotional and material help has been a gesture of heartfelt concerns towards Chinese people.
I was surprised to see my illiterate mother, who is a religious conservative, was overwhelmed by China’s grief in the wake of the coronavirus disease and prayed for Chinese people in her daily prayers. In indicates that Afghans are concerned if a Chinese citizen suffers and neither linguistic nor religious differences could serve as a barrier.
Meanwhile, Afghan students in China and Afghan leaders, including President Ashraf Ghani, as well as the Afghanistan-China Friendship Association and the Silk Road Research Center expressed their sympathy and support to China.
On the other hand, Chinese doctors and health experts shared their medical experiences for containing the pandemic with their Afghan counterparts via a four-hour video conference. Meanwhile, China sent a supply of medical aid for pandemic control which included: face masks and coveralls, test kits, ventilators, defibrillators, sputum aspirators, oxygen generators, and infusion pumps.
According to Chinese Ambassador to Afghanistan, H.E. Wang Yu, the embassy was still in close contact with government agencies and relevant enterprises in China in the hope that it could mobilize more protective and medical supplies for Afghanistan to maintain the health and safety of more people in the country.
China’s medical support during the ongoing outbreak carries much weight for Afghan state and nation and increase mutual bonhomie. In other words, as China’s medical supports and experience sharing will save the lives of many patients afflicted with coronavirus, the spirit of brotherhood is likely to be promoted further between the two nations.
China has constantly supported Afghan nation within the past years through sending humanitarian assistance, emergency supplies, financial aid, and treating children with congenital heart disease.
The exponential spread of the virus around the world suggests that global society is too interwoven to be not be affected by the events happening in other parts of the world. Moreover, since the virus knows no border and discriminates no individual on the basis of their caste, color, or class, one will conclude that all members of human family live in the “global village”, where the outbreak of a disease puts the health of all at risk, terrorism poses threat to all, and economic crisis will jeopardize the entire globe. With this in mind, Chinese officials, mainly President Xi Jinping, have been reiterating building a community with shared future for mankind, which will be achieved through “solidarity” and “cooperation”.
Ambassador Wang said, “China and Afghanistan, as brothers, will work together to overcome all difficulties.” He added, “We believe that when the epidemic is over, the friendship between China and Afghanistan will surely be stronger, the pragmatic cooperation between the two countries will be more solid, and the practice of the community of shared destiny between us will also reach a new level.” He stressed that China and Afghanistan were connected by common mountains and rivers and a community with a shared future.
Afghan Minister of Foreign Affairs Hanif Atmar thanked China for its medical support in the fight against the coronavirus disease as he talked on the phone with his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi. The two also discussed extending bilateral cooperation in security, economic and health sectors.
It is a time for global cooperation and collective solidarity to contain the pandemic and safeguard the life of all individuals regardless of their race, religion or political orientation. China has sent out a clear message that all countries should come together and share their experiences in the fight against the pandemic.
In short, two issues should be considered. First, all members of human family, which share common destiny, have to come on board and play their role constructively to contain the pandemic and mitigate the economic crisis, that is most likely to ensue. The virus, which targets people of all race and religion indiscriminately, should be capitalized on as a platform for cooperation and exercise for the spirit of brotherhood.
Second, since the lockdown on cities will have strong repercussions on the country’s economy and locals’ life, Afghanistan is in greater need of support from Chinese side and the cooperation needs to be continued.
By Hujjatullah Zia – Freelance writer and political commentator in Outlook Afghanistan Daily Newspaper