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Afghanistan, China unite on terror

Abdullah and China's FM
Afghan Foreign Minister Abdullah Abdullah (l) has said Kabul would repatriate terrorists to China  

By Willy Wo-Lap Lam
Senior China Analyst

(CNN) -- Afghanistan's interim government has pledged to cooperate with China in cracking down on Uighur secessionists who might still be hiding in Afghanistan.

Chairman of the interim government Hamid Karzai has told Chinese Premier Zhu Rongji that Kabul would not "tolerate the existence of any terrorist forces" in the country.

The official Chinese press on Thursday quoted Karzai as saying Kabul would "fully cooperate with China, and support the Chinese government's crackdown on 'East Turkestan' terrorist activities."

Karzai and his delegation arrived in Beijing on Wednesday mainly to seek economic aid from China.

President Jiang Zemin promised $150 million in aid to help rebuild Afghanistan on Thursday, the official Xinhua news agency reported. This is in addition to $1 million pledged in Tokyo and $3.6 million in humanitarian aid due to be delivered soon.

On Wednesday, Karzai and Zhu attended ceremonies marking Beijing's donation of cash and emergency supplies to Afghanistan.

Beijing has indicated it hopes Chinese companies will take part in reconstruction and other infrastructure projects in the war-torn country.


On the terror front, Beijing has indicated that anti-Chinese Uighur secessionists in the Xinjiang autonomous region are part of the East Turkestan terrorist network and that several hundred Uighurs received training in al Qaeda and Taliban camps in Afghanistan.

After the fall of the Taliban, Beijing boosted its border patrol force to prevent Taliban-trained Uighurs from returning to Xinjiang.

While in Beijing, however, Kaizai gave no details on the numbers of "East Turkestan terrorists" who might still be in Afghanistan.

Afghan Foreign Minister Abdullah Abdullah said Kabul would cooperate with Chinese efforts against the East Turkestan movement through means including repatriating the terrorists to China.

In his discussions with Afghan officials, Zhu underscored Beijing's concern about the country's independence and sovereignty, as well as the important role that should be played by the United Nations.

Diplomatic analysts in Beijing said the Chinese leadership was worried about a possible pro-U.S. and even pro-Indian "tilt" in the new Kabul government.

Karzai reassured his hosts, however, that Kabul would "attach importance to developing relations with all neighboring countries, including Pakistan."

Beijing had before the September 11 incident tried to build ties with the Taliban administration through Pakistan, which, has much less clout with the interim government.




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