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Sheikh Rashid welcomes Taliban’s desire to become part of CPEC

'It's encouraging': Sheikh Rashid on Taliban's desire. (Source: APP)

ISLAMABAD: Interior Minister Sheikh Rashid Ahmed on Monday welcomed Taliban’s desire to have Afghanistan incorporated in the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) project, saying that “it is encouraging”.

“CPEC is the jugular vein of Pakistan, and we are proud of our friendship with China and if the Taliban hold similar views, then it is really good,” the minister said while addressing a press conference in Islamabad.

On Saturday, the Taliban described China as its “most important partner”, saying Afghanistan looks to Beijing to rebuild the country and exploit its rich copper deposits as the war-ravaged country faces widespread hunger.

Taliban spokesperson Zabihullah Mujahid had said the group supports China’s One Belt, One Road initiative that seeks to link China with Africa, Asia and Europe through an enormous network of ports, railways, roads and industrial parks.

Referring to the recent terror activities in Pakistan, the Interior Minister said that suicide bombers in a Gwadar blast of Aug 20 and another explosion targeting FC convoy on Mastung Road in Quetta on Sunday had been identified, and said they had come from Afghanistan.

The minister also said that India had 68 training camps in Afghanistan, which are now dysfunctional. He also reiterated that Pakistan supported peace, development and prosperity in Afghanistan, saying “the peace in the two countries is interlinked.”

In response to a question about border management, he said that Pakistan would take decisions about its side of Torkham, Chaman, while the Taliban had the authority to make decisions on their side.

He said Afghans had assured their territory would not be used against Pakistan, while the latter also made the same assurance to its neighbours. “However, in this country, there is BLA, Daesh and other terrorist organisations, but our Army has the capacity to deal with them effectively,” he added.