China-Afghanistan decide to crackdown on Xinjiang militants

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China-Afghanistan decide to crackdown on Xinjiang militants
Beijing, Oct 29: China and Afghanistan have agreed to step up crackdown on the training camps of Uighur militants active in China's restive Xinjiang province even as it eyed major investments in the war-torn country's rich minerals and oil sectors.

Official media here reported that leaders of the two countries reached a "new important consensus" to combat the East Turkistan Islamic Movement (ETIM), an Uighur separatist group demanding the independence of Xinjiang, bordering Afghanistan and the Pakistan occupied Kashmir (PoK).

Afghanistan President Ashraf Ghani, who arrived here yesterday on his first official visit abroad, held talks with his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping and top security officials. "President Ghani said that the new Afghan government will firmly support China to fight the ETIM," Kong Xuanyou, Director General of the Department of Asian Affairs at the Chinese Foreign Ministry was quoted in the state-run China Daily today.

"The two sides reached a new important consensus on joint efforts in that regard," Kong said without disclosing details. Ghani, who succeeded Hamid Karzai, told Xi that "Afghanistan will not allow any activities that threaten China's (security) on Afghan territory." ETIM, an Al Qaeda backed organisation is reported to have training camps in Pakistan's tribal areas as well as in Afghanistan.

Several ETIM members were reportedly killed in the air raids conducted by Pakistan in those areas recently. China has stepped up border vigil both in Kashgar, the border town connecting PoK and the narrow corridor of about 76 km connecting Afghanistan. Xinjiang, home to over 11 million Uighur Muslims is restive for the past several years over their resentment about increasing settlements of Hans from other Chinese provinces.

China blames ETIM for a host of violent attacks in Beijing, Xinjiang and other parts of the country. China is concerned that situation in Afghanistan could turn worse with the US withdrawal and is in touch with Pakistan, India and Russia to formulate a new strategy. 

PTI

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