China names new ambassador to Afghanistan under Taliban regime

China has become the first country to formally name a new ambassador to Afghanistan since the Taliban took power in the country in August 2021.

The Taliban say Chinese ambassador Zhao Xing was greeted at the presidential palace in Kabul and had a meeting with top-ranking officials, including acting Prime Minister Mullah Muhammad Hassan Akhund.

The Taliban have not been officially recognized by any foreign governments. There are other diplomats in Kabul with the title of ambassador, but all of them took up their posts before 2021.

Beijing did not indicate whether Wednesday's appointment signaled any major steps towards formal recognition of the Taliban.

The Taliban regime is struggling to revive its economy amid sanctions and asset-freezing activities by the international community. On the other hand, China has been actively engaging with the Taliban administration at various levels, such as investment and infrastructure projects.

Taliban spokesperson Zabihullah Mujahid said the acting Prime Minister Akhund told the Chinese envoy in the meeting that relations between the two countries were important.