China waiting for an opportunity to enter Afghanistan amid US withdrawal

·2-min read
Representative Image
Representative Image

Washington [US], July 9 (ANI): Amid the ongoing US troops withdrawal from Afghanistan, Beijing appears to have been waiting for an opportunity to enter the war-torn country.

For President Xi Jinping and the Chinese Communist Party, Afghanistan is of geopolitical importance. It offers a portal through which the Chinese military might access the Arabian Sea, via Iran or Pakistan. The war-torn country could also provide access to Iran and the Middle East, and a route to the Indian Ocean and on to Africa, reported Fox News.

"Because the Chinese are more vicious, yes, I think they'll have a better chance of achieving their goals in Afghanistan than us," author and CCP expert Gordon Chang said in an interview with Fox News. "But having a better chance doesn't mean they'll succeed. I think they will just take longer to fail."

"We've seen China establish relationships in unruly areas, but this would be a much bigger commitment for them," he said, pointing out that Afghanistan is one of 14 countries bordering mainland China. "This is not some far away commitment where they can just pull up stakes, once China goes in it is going to be extremely hard for them to get out."

He further said that one of China's key interests in Afghanistan is access.

Chinese leaders have reportedly already been negotiating a deal with Kabul authorities to invest in Afghanistan's infrastructure through China's international "Belt and Road Initiative."

The trillion-dollar program has funded multiple projects, generally focusing on hard infrastructure like airports, roads and seaports, throughout Asia, Africa and the Middle East.

It has been used by the Chinese Communist Party to grow its influence by providing infrastructure loans to poorer countries in return for control over local resources, of which Afghanistan has plenty, he said.

Tapping into Afghan's vast natural resources has been a long-standing goal of China.

According to the Chang, the deal with the Afghan government would reportedly extend the USD 62 billion China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, a project started in 2013.

Beijing will expect the Taliban to ignore the "genocidal" oppression of their fellow Muslims, the 12 million Uyghurs in China's Xinjiang province, which sits close to the Afghan and Pakistani borders.

Chang expressed his doubts, saying, "Although [the Chinese] are vicious, I don't think that they're as vicious as the elements that they're going to face."

Meanwhile, Chang believes the decision for the US to withdraw from Afghanistan was the correct one. "Right now, the most important threat to the United States are not the Taliban in Afghanistan, but China," he added. (ANI)

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