Chinese foreign minister Wang Webin criticized the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan during a joint meeting with the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) and called on the Eurasian alliance to “prevent the United States from shirking its responsibility.”
In a meeting Wednesday, Wang said that the U.S. needs to do more to prevent the Taliban from gaining in strength and to provide greater security assistance to the Afghan government.
“As the initiator of the Afghan issue, the United States cannot simply walk away, create more problems for the Afghan government and dump the ‘burden’ on regional countries,” the Chinese foreign ministry said in a statement following the SCO summit.
Wang alleged during the meeting – which included four member nations that neighbor Afghanistan including China, Pakistan, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan – that the summit was necessary because of the “hasty withdrawal of the U.S. and NATO troops” from the two-decades-long war.
But the harsh rhetoric regarding the U.S. withdrawal has become a common talking point for China.
China is competing with the United States to show that it can be a reliable ally to developing nations.
China says it is concerned about an expanding terrorist threat in the region and called on the SCO member nations to work as a united front to “prevent the ‘three forces’ of terrorism, separatism, and extremism.”
China has used the threat of terrorism as a justification for the genocide it is committing against the Uyghurs in Xinjiang province.
Following the attacks on 9/11, the U.S. designated the East Turkestan Islamic Movement – a Uyghur Islamic militant group – as a terrorist organization with alleged ties to Al Qaeda.
But in 2020, the Trump administration removed the designation and said that there was “no credible evidence” of continued extremist ties – a move that angered China.
Chinese officials routinely point to allegations of extremism among the Uighur populations for justification of wrongful imprisonment and forced labor.
The U.S., along with several western nations, have condemned China’s treatment of the Uyghur populations as mass human rights abuses.
China has rejected these claims and in a press conference on terrorism Wednesday, Chinese President Xi Jinping called for increased measures surrounding counter-terrorism initiatives.
Biden argued earlier this month that the U.S. role in Afghanistan has been completed and said it is now up to the Afghan government to protect its nation’s sovereignty – though the U.S. will continue to help counter Taliban forces through airstrikes.