Taliban spokesperson Zabiullah Mujahid on Monday expressed that the group “desires” to join the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC). He also informed that the Taliban will address Islamabad’s concerns about Pakistan-based terror group ‘Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan’ (TTP), Samaa News reported. Mujahid also confirmed an upcoming meeting between Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) Chief Lt General Faiz Hameed and Taliban senior leader Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar.
CPEC is a part of China’s most ambitious project ‘Belt and Road Initiative’, aimed at renewing the country’s historic trade routes in the coastal countries of south-east Asia.
In 2015, China announced the ‘China Pakistan Economic Corridor’ (CPEC) project which is worth USD 46 billion.
With CPEC, Beijing aims to expand its influence in Pakistan and across Central and South Asia in order to counter the influence of the United States and India.
The CPEC would link Pakistan’s southern Gwadar port (626 kilometers west of Karachi) in Balochistan on the Arabian Sea to China’s western Xinjiang region. It also includes plans to create road, rail, and oil pipeline links to improve connectivity between China and the Middle East.
These developments came amid reports suggest that ISI has supported the Taliban’s takeover of Afghanistan.
“Islamabad has played an important role in the formation of the Taliban, Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) is their creator and supporter,” Author Sergio Restelli reported on the InsideOver news website.
The creation of the Taliban was Islamabad’s attempt to gain hold in Kabul as a part of its strategic plan to gain hold in the region, Restelli added.
Several reports also claim that ISI had deployed its “cooperation agents” with the Taliban who have been involved in the takeover of Afghanistan.
(With ANI inputs)