China’s Foreign Ministry on Wednesday announced USD 31 million aid to Afghanistan, endorsing the new caretaker government “Islamic Emirate” of Taliban. Hua Chunyin, a spokesperson for the Foreign Ministry, said the decision was announced during the first meeting of the foreign ministers of Afghanistan’s neighbouring countries and would be “for emergency use to the Afghan people”, reported CNN.

China will provide almost USD 31 million worth of food, winter weather supplies, vaccines, and medicine to Taliban-controlled Afghanistan. Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi also announced that China will donate 3 million vaccine doses to Afghanistan in the first batch, according to the Chinese state news agency Xinhua. It is not clear when the vaccines are scheduled to be delivered, reported CNN.

Speaking at the Foreign Minister’s meeting in Beijing via video link, Wang also said the United States and its allies were more obligated than any other country to provide economic and humanitarian assistance to the Afghan people.

Following the US withdrawal from Afghanistan and subsequent Taliban takeover, Wang said the US should “assume their responsibilities” in the country by helping ensure its development and stability while “respecting the sovereignty and independence of Afghanistan,” Xinhua reported.

On Tuesday, the Taliban announced the formation of a hardline interim government for Afghanistan, filling top posts with veterans of the Islamist militant group who oversaw the 20-year fight against the US-led military coalition. China shares a 50-mile (80 kilometres) border with China’s western region of Xinjiang at the end of the narrow Wakhan Corridor and has a substantial investment in the wider region through Belt and Road Initiative (BRI).

Following a high-profile meeting between Taliban leaders and the Chinese foreign minister in Tianjin in July, Wang called the Taliban “an important military and political force in Afghanistan” and declared that they would play “an important role in the country’s peace, reconciliation and reconstruction process”, reported CNN.

In return, the Taliban called China a “good friend” and pledged to “never allow any forces to use the Afghan territory to engage in acts detrimental to China,” according to a statement from the Chinese Foreign Ministry at the meeting.

Last week, a Taliban spokesperson called for closer relations with Beijing in an interview with Chinese state broadcaster CGTN. “China is a very important and strong country in our neighbourhood, and we have had very positive and good relations with China in the past,” Zabihullah Mujahid said. “We want to make these relations even stronger and want to improve the mutual trust level.”