World

International conference on Afghanistan in Beijing highlights China's growing role in region

  • Afghan President Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai delivers his speech at the opening ceremony of the 4th Ministerial Conference of Istanbul Process of Afghanistan, at the Diaoyutai State Guesthouse in Beijing, China Friday, Oct. 31, 2014. (AP Photo/Takaki Yajima, Pool)

    Afghan President Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai delivers his speech at the opening ceremony of the 4th Ministerial Conference of Istanbul Process of Afghanistan, at the Diaoyutai State Guesthouse in Beijing, China Friday, Oct. 31, 2014. (AP Photo/Takaki Yajima, Pool)  (The Associated Press)

  • Afghan President Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai, left on stage, delivers his speech during the opening ceremony of the 4th Ministerial Conference of Istanbul Process of Afghanistan, at the Diaoyutai State Guesthouse in Beijing, China Friday, Oct. 31, 2014. (AP Photo/Takaki Yajima, Pool)

    Afghan President Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai, left on stage, delivers his speech during the opening ceremony of the 4th Ministerial Conference of Istanbul Process of Afghanistan, at the Diaoyutai State Guesthouse in Beijing, China Friday, Oct. 31, 2014. (AP Photo/Takaki Yajima, Pool)  (The Associated Press)

  • Chinese Premier Li Keqiang, right, shakes hands with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai  at opening ceremony of the 4th Ministerial Conference of Istanbul Process of Afghanistan, at the Diaoyutai State Guesthouse in Beijing, China Friday, Oct. 31, 2014. (AP Photo/Takaki Yajima, Pool)

    Chinese Premier Li Keqiang, right, shakes hands with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai at opening ceremony of the 4th Ministerial Conference of Istanbul Process of Afghanistan, at the Diaoyutai State Guesthouse in Beijing, China Friday, Oct. 31, 2014. (AP Photo/Takaki Yajima, Pool)  (The Associated Press)

China is hosting an international conference on Afghanistan's security and reconstruction that highlights its growing role in the country as U.S. and NATO forces depart.

New Afghan President Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai is headlining Friday's forum in Beijing known as the Istanbul Ministerial Process. The annual conference brings Afghanistan and China together with more than a dozen member nations and observers including the United States.

Regional economic powerhouse China said Wednesday it would provide $330 million in grants to Afghanistan along with professional training and scholarships for 3,500 Afghans over the next five years.

Beijing is keen to help develop Afghanistan's estimated $3 trillion in mineral wealth and wants a strong, stable government in Kabul to prevent unrest spilling over into its restive northwestern region of Xinjiang.