The Taliban government’s new ambassador to China arrived in Beijing on Friday — the first time Afghanistan’s rulers have officially sent an ambassador to another country since returning to power more than two years ago.
No country recognizes the Taliban as the legitimate government of Afghanistan, but some, including China, have embassies in Kabul. Many other diplomatic missions were shuttered and their staff evacuated as Taliban fighters bore down on Afghanistan’s capital in August 2021.
China is of particular importance to the Taliban, who are courting foreign investment and regional alliances amid their continued isolation on the international stage because of their restrictions on Afghan women and girls.
The new ambassador, Bilal Karimi, who has no diplomatic experience and is in his late 20s or early 30s, was welcomed in Beijing by China’s special envoy for Afghan affairs, Yue Xiaoyong, according to a Taliban statement. Karimi presented his credentials to the Foreign Ministry’s director-general of the protocol department, Hong Lei.