China became the first country yesterday to formally name a new ambassador to Afghanistan since the Taliban takeover, after its envoy presented credentials at a ceremony in Kabul.

Afghan media reports say the newly appointed China’s Ambassador to Afghanistan, Zhao Xing, said that his country respects Afghanistan's national sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity and will never interfere in Afghanistan's internal affairs.

TOLOnews reports that while presenting his credentials to the Islamic Emirate's PM Mullah Mohammad Hassan Akhund in Kabul on Wednesday, Ambassador Zhao pledged to make efforts to strengthen relations between Beijing and Kabul.

During the meeting with Ambassador Zhao, Islamic Emirate’s PM reportedly stressed the importance of strengthening relations between Afghanistan and China.

“In his remarks after presenting the credentials to Prime Minister, he told them that China will play a significant role in the economic and peaceful affairs of the country, and that they will not interfere in the internal political affairs of Afghanistan," Bilal Karimi, the deputy spokesman for the Islamic Emirate, was quoted as saying by TOLOnews

Zhao's predecessor, Wang Yu, assumed the role in 2019 and completed his term last month.

Meanwhile, some Afghan exerts consider China’s role as important in the political and economic sectors of Afghanistan.

Reuters notes that the Taliban have not been officially recognized by any foreign government, and Beijing did not indicate whether Wednesday's appointment signaled any wider steps towards formal recognition of the Taliban.

"This is the normal rotation of China's ambassador to Afghanistan, and is intended to continue advancing dialogue and cooperation between China and Afghanistan," China's foreign ministry said in a statement. "China's policy towards Afghanistan is clear and consistent."

The Taliban administration spokesperson's office published photos of a ceremony at Afghanistan's presidential palace on Wednesday at which the ambassador was received by officials, including Akhund and the acting foreign minister, Amir Khan Muttaqi.

There are other diplomats in Kabul with the title of ambassador, but all of them took up their posts before the Taliban takeover. 

Other countries and bodies, such as Pakistan and the European Union, have since sent senior diplomats to lead diplomatic missions using the title 'charge d'affaires', which does not require presenting ambassadorial credentials to the host nation.

The Taliban entered the capital on August 15, 2021, as the Afghan security forces, set up with years of Western support, disintegrated and U.S.-backed President Ashraf Ghani fled.