China to become guarantor in Afghanistan endgame?


KABUL: China has offered to serve as guarantor for a proposed peace agreement in Afghanistan, an official statement said late on Wednesday.

Hamdullah Mohib, Afghanistan’s national security ad-viser, received Deng Xijun, China’s special envoy for Afghanistan, in the capital Kabul.

The envoy briefed Mohib on China’s recent efforts for peace talks, according to a statement from the national security adviser’s office.

“He (Xijun) reaffirmed China’s support for the Afghan-led and -owned process and offered China’s proposal as guarantor to any agreement,” the statement added.

There have been multiple signs of cautious optimism from the U.S. and NATO about a potential peace deal in Afghanistan this year.

In the past two days, NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg as well as U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, have said a comprehensive peace agreement with the Taliban is within the grasps.

On Thursday’s defense ministers’ meeting, Stoltenberg said the allies also discussed developments in Afghanistan. NATO will continue to provide financial support to Afghan security forces through 2024, he said.