BEIJING   -   Former Afghan president Hamid Karzai said he believed the trilateral dialogue mechanism between China, Afghanistan and Pakistan will play an important role in easing the situation in Afghanistan, improving relations between Afghanistan and Pakistan and promoting regional peace by controlling terrorism and extremism.

Afghanistan sees China as having an extremely important role in peace and reconciliation in the country as China has all three elements required for this role, he told China Daily on Friday.

“China is a neighbor. China is a friend of both Afghanistan and Pakistan. China is a major world power,” he said, adding that China has the capacity, means, and connections to contribute to Afghan peace and stability.

The Afghan side welcomed the trilateral mechanism and appreciated the Chinese government’s efforts to make it work.

“Since there is now a new effort by the United States to bring peace to Afghanistan, we hope that the US will seek China’s assistance in this and work together with China, our other big neighbors, and major power Russia,” he said. “So, the three joining hands will surely make contributions to Afghan peace and stability.” Karzai said that China has been a steadfast friend and a very good neighbor to the Central Asian nation.

“China has contributed to Afghanistan’s well-being and stability, giving us economic assistance,” he said. “We value very highly the decades of Afghan-China relationship, and especially China’s contributions in Afghanistan in the past 18 years, which have been very significant.”

Karzai also spoke highly of the Belt and Road Initiative proposed by Chinese President Xi Jinping. Afghanistan was one of the earliest countries to support the initiative.

“The Belt and Road Initiative is an extremely significant project not only for China and China’s economic rise and expansion but also for Afghanistan and the region because this means connectivity for all of us,” Karzai said.

Afghanistan welcomes China’s investment in Afghanistan, and the country is seeking more Chinese involvement in the Afghan economy, he said.

Karzai also welcomed Xi’s proposal to build a community with a shared future for mankind, saying that it is a “tremendously good vision”.

Karzai also said that Afghanistan can learn from China’s development experience as its economic growth has been phenomenal, and the Afghan government must make reasonable policies to bring benefits to its people.

He said it is important for Afghanistan to find a development path that suits its conditions in order to achieve national development.

Karzai, 61, was in the Chinese capital after attending the Imperial Springs International Forum, which was held in Guangzhou, Guangdong province, on Dec 10 and 11. Along with other foreign representatives to the forum, he met with President Xi Jinping in Beijing. His first visit to China in 2002 was the first by an Afghan head of state since 1964.