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A new Chinese ambassador presented his credentials to the Taliban’s prime minister Wednesday, the first appointment of a foreign envoy in Afghanistan since the Islamist group took power two years ago, Reuters reported.

Afghan officials confirmed that Prime Minister Mohammad Hassan Akhund accepted the credentials of Ambassador Zhao Sheng during a ceremony in the capital, Kabul.

They said Zhao’s arrival is a signal to other nations to come forward and establish relations with the country, according to the Associated Press.

The Taliban took control of Afghanistan in 2021 after the withdrawal of US-led troops from the country. Since then, no nation has recognized the Taliban as Afghanistan’s legitimate rulers and many of the group’s leaders are under sanctions.

Even so, some nations and international delegations, such as Pakistan and the European Union, have sent senior envoys to lead diplomatic missions in Afghanistan. However, these representatives have taken on a “chargé d’affaires” title, which means they are responsible for ambassadorial duties but do not formally hold the role of ambassador, underscoring the lack of will to offer formal recognition.

Some ambassadors appointed during the previous Afghan government have also stayed in Kabul with the same title.

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