File photo: Suhail Shaheen, spokesman for the Taliban Photograph:( AFP )
The Taliban downplayed India's concerns over Beijing's large-scale investment projects in the region, saying that China may participate in Afghanistan's construction and provide assistance in other vital sectors.
Suhail Shaheen, a Taliban spokesman, said on Tuesday that India's concerns over China's Belt and Road Initiative supporting Afghanistan are "inappropriate," according to The Global Times.
According to the Council on Foreign Relations, 139 countries had signed agreements with China as of March, with China assisting these countries in the construction of roads and ports as part of the Belt and Road Initiative.
Some of India's concerns aren't appropriate and neither are they plausible, said Taliban Spokesperson Suhail Shaheen, in an interview with Chinese mouthpiece Global Times.
"While having ended the occupation, we need to focus on the reconstruction of Afghanistan. And now China has come forward to help us with the construction of Afghanistan to create jobs for our people. So what is wrong with that?" asked Shaheen.
"China can also take part in the construction of Afghanistan and assist in other essential sectors. After this, both countries can then enter into mutually beneficial bilateral agreements which best serve the interests of both countries through mutual respect."
With the evacuation of US and NATO forces from Afghanistan now complete, the Taliban leadership is looking to China for massive investments in the volatile country over the next six months.
Taliban spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid previously stated that the group "desires" to be a part of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).
According to Nikkei Asia, China has been courting the Taliban for future projects in Afghanistan since 2018.
(With inputs from agencies)