China has emphatically denied providing economic and political support to Afghanistan's ruling Taleban movement.
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhu Bangzao today (Saturday) called reports alleging Chinese diplomatic and technical connections with the fundamentalist Muslim organization absurd and not in agreement with the facts. Mr. Zhu's remarks referred to newspaper reports which said Chinese diplomats regularly visit the Afghan capital Kabul and that one Chinese firm helped Afghanistan build a telephone network.
Beijing closed its embassy in Kabul in 1993 for safety reasons. Senior Chinese officials say they have had no diplomatic contact with Afghanistan since then. China says its only interest in its war-torn neighbor is securing peace between the Taleban and the opposition Northern Alliance.
On Friday, China joined other Central Asian nations in mutual condemnation of Tuesday's attacks against the United States, a move interpreted as Beijing support for international efforts to combat terrorism. Afghanistan is believed to be providing refuge to Osama bin Laden, who President Bush has named as a chief suspect in the attacks against the Pentagon and the World Trade Center.