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September 23, 2013

US, China Partner to Train Afghan Diplomats

by Nike Ching

For the second year in a row the United States and China are hosting Afghan diplomats as part of a joint effort to develop the Kabul diplomats’ communications and management skills.
 
The group recently finished a stay in Washington and will travel to Beijing in the near future.
 
Participant Ahmad Shah Katawazai said the program will help improve U.S.-Chinese cooperation on Afghan rebuilding.
 
"This initiative was in order to bring both the major powers, the United States and China, [to see] how can they work more effectively in Afghanistan, which areas they could cooperate in,” he said. “This began with this training program and we hope in the future there these programs will be broadened and this will encompass many other sectors as well."
 
Ambassador James Dobbins, the U.S. special representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan, said that Washington and Beijing's interest are largely aligned in Afghanistan and the regional in general.
 
"We support greater Chinese involvement in the stabilization of Afghanistan and in the economic development of Afghanistan, including investments that China has made and investments that China might make in the future," Dobbins said.
 
The Chinese embassy in Washington called the program an example of successful cooperation between China and the U.S. concerning a third country.
 
"China stands ready to work with the international community, including the United States, to continue providing assistance to Afghanistan to the best of its ability, and actively endeavor to promote Afghanistan's reconstruction process as well as peace, stability and development of the region," an embassy statement said.
 
China was one of the first countries to establish diplomatic relations with Afghanistan’s new government following the 2001 ouster of the Taliban.  China did not deploy troops to Afghanistan as part of the international coalition that drove the Taliban from power.

The United States has put its focus on training Afghan security forces and the army as it prepares to withdraw all combat troops next year.

During a recent visit to VOA, the Afghan diplomats suggested the United States and China could also work together on anti-terrorism and counter-narcotic efforts as part of Afghanistan's capacity building.
 
This report was produced in collaboration with the VOA Mandarin service.