Amid Biden’s Retreat, China Moves to Gain Strategic Influence in Afghanistan

Per my previous analysis, it is extremely likely that Beijing and the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) will be big winners from President Biden’s reckless and ill-advised retreat from Afghanistan. There I noted that if Afghanistan descends into chaos, one way China could interject itself, post-American withdrawal, could be through the United Nations, or along with Russia through the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO).

However, if the Taliban succeeds in gaining power relatively easily, China benefits even more. China first publicly hosted Taliban representatives for negotiations in 2019, and private communications have very likely been ongoing for longer.

In that scenario, I noted in a separate piece Mark Almond, director of the Crisis Research Institute at Oxford University, provides some excellent insights in his piece titled, “Days after we leave Afghanistan, China is moving in to gain a direct route to the riches of the Middle East. And with billions in their war chest, where will their ambitions end?”

He notes:

In a development that should strike fear through Western capitals, Beijing scents [senses] an unrivalled opportunity to extend its influence in the region and gain strategic territorial and economic advantage that could rewrite the geopolitical map in its favour.

And now, Derek Grossman a senior defense analyst at the Rand Corp, appears to concur, writing in Foreign Policy:

Amid all of this regional angst, China is quietly attempting to secure its interests in post-U.S. Afghanistan. Beijing has reportedly been actively engaging with Kabul on construction of the Peshawar-Kabul motorway, which would connect Pakistan to Afghanistan and make Kabul a participant in China’s massive infrastructure and investment plan, the Belt and Road Initiative.

Up until now, Kabul has resisted participation in the initiative to avoid getting on the wrong side of Washington. Beijing is also building a major road through the Wakhan Corridor—a slim strip of mountainous territory connecting China’s westernmost province of Xinjiang to Afghanistan—and onward to Pakistan and Central Asia, complementing its existing road network through the region.

Once completed, these new thoroughfares should enable Beijing to pursue its goals of increased trade with the region and natural resource extraction in Afghanistan. According to a 2014 report, Afghanistan may possess nearly a trillion dollars’ worth of extractable rare-earth metals locked within its mountains.

But in order to access these benefits, Afghanistan must first become stable and secure. With a Taliban takeover looming, China received some good news two weeks ago: Taliban spokesman Suhail Shaheen said in an interview that “China is a friendly country and we welcome it for reconstruction and developing Afghanistan … if [the Chinese] have investments, of course we will ensure their safety.”

Moreover, on the sensitive issue of whether the Taliban might support alleged Uyghur militants against China in neighboring Xinjiang, Shaheen noted, “We care about the oppression of Muslims, be it in Palestine, in Myanmar, or in China, and we care about the oppression of non-Muslims anywhere in the world. But what we are not going to do is interfere in China’s internal affairs.”

These words were clearly intended to please Beijing, which appears to be starting off on exactly the right foot with the Taliban should the group regain control over Afghanistan.

Grossman adds: “Beijing already has strong bilateral and multilateral relations throughout the region (not least via the Shanghai Cooperation Organization), but an improved relationship with Afghanistan will pay even larger dividends.”

“If the Taliban stay true to their word—a big if—then Beijing is set to benefit from Belt and Road projects transiting Afghanistan as well as what China frames as counterterrorism cooperation against Uyghur extremists in Xinjiang.” ADN

Paul Crespo is the Managing Editor of American Defense News. A defense and national security expert, he served as a Marine Corps officer and as a military attaché with the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) at US embassies worldwide. Paul holds degrees from Georgetown, London, and Cambridge Universities. He is also CEO of SPECTRE Global Risk, a security advisory firm, and President of the Center for American Defense Studies, a national security think tank.

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typicalwhiteguy
typicalwhiteguy
1 month ago

Let the Chicoms have the godforsaken place. It will either be their downfall or they will enslave the Afghans and send them to make shoes for Lebrun James like they did to the Uighars.

cozycalico
cozycalico
1 month ago

Send Biden to Afghanistan and his son. Let them fight for us. No, Biden is a coward and I imagine his son is also.

Joe
Joe
1 month ago

We have a zero in the wh,spineless rat.

Omega 2
Omega 2
1 month ago

WHAT MAKES YOU PEOPLE THINK BIDEN IS GOING TO DO ANYTHING TO CHINA WITH ALL THE ” BUCKS ” HE AND HIS SON HAS RECEIVED FROM THESE PACK RATS?

Scotty
Scotty
1 month ago

China has bought and paid for team Biden!

CashGirl
25 days ago

Probably part of the plan, given the close friendship mister Biden has with the Chinese communists and their money!!

Ginger
Ginger
25 days ago

This is starting to sound more like a coordinated effort between Beijing Biden and the commie crats and China. How convenient that the Taliban would end up taking over Afghanistan with American military weapons, American secrets, and trapped American citizens, and now China comes into the picture to help swoop it all up. China remains on its mission for world domination using the fools in D.C. along the way. Beijing Biden is an enemy for the American people and should be charged with treason.

Elizabeth Estrada aka CHIAKIA

LISTEN UP….GOD Says PREZ TRUMP Won 104 MILLION Something LEGAL VOTES Even Before the ELECTORAL VOTES. The WRONG MAN is in the WHITE HOUSE. GOD Chose PREZ TRUMP to Be PRESIDENT of the U.S. I STAND By GOD’S WORD. From SamuraiQueen. 😄😄😄

FedUp
FedUp
25 days ago

Of course. They want the air base and the rich lithium deposits and other rare earths that are there. The probably paid Biden to screw up the way he did just so they could get this.

Jawad
Jawad
25 days ago

And there you have it: you don’t want the Yanks in charge, so who is it you want? Oh, the Chink-a-zoids! I see. The Taliban worshipers of death just may have found their new lord and master! And they will find them much less forgiving, wanna bet?

nemo
nemo
25 days ago

COVID 19 = Chinese Originated Virus Infectious Disease 19 (2019) … now after that they want the minerals in the middle east, after our blood and military maimed spent??????? How long we going to tolerate this administration???? Where are OUR REPUBLICANS????? Running away like the Afgan army???… This is damn poor … Senators & House, stand up and fight!!!!!

BullyQ
BullyQ
25 days ago

The stupid people that keep voting for Democrats won’t wake up until a 3 WW starts and then it won’t matter because we all die


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