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‘Father of the Taliban’ Calls on China to Aid Afghan Peace Talks

  • U.S. should announce timeline for troop withdrawal, Haq urges
  • Pakistani cleric Haq warns against Chinese debt enslavement
Maulana Samiul Haq, center, is seen in 2013.

Maulana Samiul Haq, center, is seen in 2013.

Photographer: Farooq Naeem/AFP via Getty Images

A Pakistani Islamic cleric who taught the Taliban’s leaders has called on China to play a larger role in negotiations to end the 17-year Afghan conflict.

Beijing’s stake in regional peace is larger than America’s, Maulana Samiul Haq, who is known as the ‘Father of the Taliban,’ said in an interview at his seminary near the northwestern city of Peshawar. Haq, who is believed to be in close contact with the Afghan Taliban and schooled its present chief, Haibatullah Akhundzada, said China would be welcomed as an arbitrator in negotiations and shouldn’t “leave matters of such a great importance solely to the U.S.”