China will be the Taliban’s “main partner” and help rebuild Afghanistan, according to a spokesman for the group.
“China will be our main partner and represents a great opportunity for us because it is ready to invest in our country and support reconstruction efforts,” Zabihullah Mujahid said in an interview published by Italian newspaper La Repubblica on Wednesday.
He said the Taliban value China’s Belt and Road Initiative as the project will revive the ancient Silk Road.
He said China will also help Afghanistan fully utilize its rich copper resources and give the country a path into global markets.
The Taliban also view Russia as an important partner in the region and will maintain good relations with Moscow, he added.
Speaking about the Kabul airport, Mujahid said the facility is fully under Taliban control but has been seriously damaged.
Qatar and Turkey are leading efforts to resume operations at the airport, he told the Italian publication.
“The airport should be clean within the next three days and will be rebuilt in a short time. I hope it will be operational again in September,” he said.
On relations with Italy, Mujahid said the Taliban hope Italy will recognize their government and reopen its embassy in Kabul.
The Taliban took control of Afghanistan on Aug. 15, forcing President Ashraf Ghani and other top officials to flee the country.
The group has been working to form a government and an announcement is expected on Friday.
* Writing by Zehra Nur Duz in Ankara.
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