Muhammad Tahir Khan:China is the most trusted countryin Afghanistan

Muhammad Tahir Khan,started Journalism Career in 1990 as a reporter at the private news agency Pakistan Press International (PPI) in Islamabad. He is presently the editor of Pakistan’s leading news agency, the News Network International, (NNI) in Islamabad  a member from the media of the Pakistan-Afghan Track-II dialogue known as Beyond Boundaries and frequently visit Afghanistan. 2013-2015 worked for the BBC Pashto radio in Islamabad .Host a TV show on Urdu-langue television GTV “Dialogue”.



On August 17,2020, the 2020 Asia Pacific Public Security Forum was successfully held.During the forum, The experts and scholars at the conference from various countries discussed counter-terrorism security, international counter-terrorism cooperation, the Line of defense through big data,and international security standards in the light of the epidemic situation. Pointing the Hot Topics for the forum,CGE insight invented one of the key guests at the conference,Muhammad Tahir Khan for online interview.


Host:We'd like to know your opinion about the latest situation of Counter-terrorism in Afghanistan.


Muhammad Tahir Khan:Afghanistan still has a problem because the foreign troops are there. Almost eight thousands American and maybe a few thousand also from other NATO countries. Although now, the Taliban and the US are not fighting each other,because after the signing of the Taliban and the US Agreement in Qatar in February this year. So there is no fighting between the Taliban and the NATO forces.But Afghanistan still faces terrorism.I think that things are moving towards positivity for the situation. My information is the Taliban delegation, 20-member delegation, is ready to seat with the Afghan government.Afghan government has announced a 21-member team to further negotiation with Taliban. Previously, there was an understanding that the talks will begin in Qatar on August 16th, but I don't think it would start on August 16, but maybe one or two days after the 16th.One point I want to mention here, the intra-Afghan dialogue would be very difficult,even more difficult than the US-Taliban talks.The US-Taliban talks had been involved in negotiation for 18 months.I went to Qartar in July last year.And I found when I met the Taliban leader that there was a deep mistrust.And we hope that something good will be coming,maybe not very soon, but definitely will be coming. That's what all of us, the whole world, would like to see if they can change to peace.


Host:What's your advice, should China join the peace process of Afghanistan? What kind of role should China play?


Muhammad Tahir Khan:China’s role, I would say, is very very reasonable.China.The US has several problems with the Chinese government on different issues, but no difference on Afghanistan.Last year, Mullah Baradar travelled to Beijing in July.Pakistan, also joined meeting.Why China is trusted by Afghan more?Because China had never been militarily involved in Afghanistan.And people in Afghanistan hate every country which militarily had role in Afghanistan.So China had good relations with Afghan government, political contacts with political office at the Taliban.  China’s main focus is on economic development, Belt and Road Initiative, CPEC,China-Pakistan economic corridor.


Host:Maybe Afghanistan is facing plenty of terrorism issues.Do you think that China is also facing some similar issues?


Muhammad Tahir Khan:Yes. I heard what is happening in Xinjiang. That’s part of my duty.We have a very strong presence of Chinese media in Pakistan.But the problem is most of the news are coming from the western media.The people have no other option.It is also my suggestion because we cannot speak about internal policy of any country.But my suggestion is that the Chinese government, they should provide a correct information, quick information to the people in Pakistan, in Afghanistan,about the real situation.Because when we depend on western media and there will bias.They are biased towards China, towards Pakistan, even towards Afghanistan.Everyone recognized the problem, the security issues in Xinjiang.But now we are hearing that now situation in Xinjiang is very stable.And there had been no major attacks for years in Muslim majority region.So this is good.So every country has the right to have their own policy independently.They know their people. They know their system. They know their society.No one should have objection on that.



Host:Do you have any suggestions on the anti-terrorism cooperation between China and Afghanistan?


Muhammad Tahir Khan:Afghanistan needs support of every country. I would say here China has problems, but China very effectively resolved the problems in Xinjiang region. China is a very important country in the world, especially for us.China is an Afghanistan neighbor.Instability, insecurity, terrorism in Afghanistan directly have impact on neighboring countries, Pakistan, Iran, central Asia, and China, especially.The CPEC is not only for Pakistan,I mentioned that Gwadar Port is now open for Afghans. Afghanistan needs cooperation not only in investment, economic connectivity, but Afghanistan needs cooperation against terrorism.China would be, as I told you, China is trusted than any other country in this region by Afghans, by the government in Afghanistan.I know Chinese also have some sort of security concerns about their nationals if they are in the border region or in Afghanistan. So China could be a very good partner, effective partner in anti-terrorism for Afghanistan after the withdrawal of these foreign troops from Afghanistan.I repeatedly say trust.There is a trust between Afghanistan and China. One thing is this.The second thing, China has never been militarally ambitious in Afghanistan and in this region.This is a second point that Afghanistan should have more anti-terrorist cooperation with China.China wants stability, economic development in the whole world.That's why Belt and Road Initiate, the CPEC are here.These are clear examples for everyone. I hope that after the end of the foreign invasion and the withdrawal of all troops, I am confident that integrated cooperation between China and Afghanistan will be increasing.



Host:Could you briefly introduce the problem between China and Pakistan that they are facing on the construction of the CPEC?


Muhammad Tahir Khan:Even yesterday, there was a press conference by the spokesman of the Pakistani military. He said that now the Pakistani military security forces have enhanced and increased security for all CPEC projects. Because Pakistan considers this project is very, very vital for Pakistani development. In the past, we would never had electricity in Pakistan in summer.There would be 5 or 6 hours’ electricity in Islamabad, even in Pakistani capital.Now, we have 24 hour electricity in Islamabad because of the CPEC. The CPEC is promising recently a very huge project of a railway track, ML-1 from Karachi to Peshawar in the northwest.There would be a total upgradation of the railway track.This is a huge project. But the Americans created doubts in the mind of the people about the CPEC, this China Pakistan Economic Corridor.The western media, the American media, sometimes issue baseless reports to mislead the Pakistani people about the CPEC. But the majority of Pakistani, they know the importance of CPEC, which is the main part of the Belt and Road Initiative.The Pakistani military, the Pakistani political government, the Pakistani opposition parties, the Pakistani people. They are on same page.



Host:Could you briefly introduce the security situation along the CPEC project?


Muhammad Tahir Khan:I think you'd agree with me that Pakistan faces security issues. Pakistan had first, lots of problems because of terrorism, because of militancy,because Pakistan has open border of 2,600 kilometer with Afghanistan. This border in the past was open. Everyone can come here and go from there.Now Pakistan is fencing the border. Pakistan had problems, security problem, Taliban problem, Daesh problem.Now Chinese are building the Gwadar International Airport. Gwadar will be having a central role in CPEC.And gradually Pakistani forces have taken control over almost all areas in Balochistan.I don't think there would be any major security problem for CPEC.Now Pakistani Army has a very strong force exclusively to protect this CPEC project.



Host:Do you think the extremists and terrorists originated from Xinjiang can affect the  relationship between China and Pakistan?

Muhammad Tahir Khan:If you go to the election in Pakistan, and who has been ruling in Pakistan.People in Pakistan are very moderate. I'm here for 30 years. We have following what is happening in China.Exactly. Especially those terrorists and extremists,they're just a very small group of people in the society in China, Pakistan.Even though they are a little bit more dangerous and are very easily to became provocative,the Chinese society, the Pakistan society, the majority loves peace.They want their life stable and get better. It’s a final goal.

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