As US troops complete their withdrawal from Afghanistan, Beijing appears to have waited behind the scenes for an opportunity to enter the war-torn country.
For President Xi Jinping and the Chinese Communist Party, Afghanistan is a crucial piece of the puzzle. It offers a portal through which the Chinese army could access the Arabian Sea, via Iran or Pakistan.
Afghanistan could also provide access to Iran and the Middle East, and a route to the Indian Ocean and Africa.
As China prepares to make significant investments that would secure its influence in Afghanistan, Chinese author and expert Gordon Chang has doubts about the regime’s ability to succeed.
“Because the Chinese are more vicious, yes I think they will have a better chance of achieving their goals in Afghanistan than we are,” Chang said in an interview with Fox News. “But having a better chance doesn’t mean they’ll be successful. I think they’ll just take longer to fail.”
THE TALIBAN SURGATE AS BIDEN REMOVES US TROOPS FROM AFGHANISTAN, WITH EXPERTS WARNING OF “FOREIGN POLICY DISASTER”
“We have seen China establishing relations in unruly areas, but it would be a much bigger engagement for them,” he continued, noting that Afghanistan is one of 14 countries bordering mainland China. . “This is not a distant engagement where they can just take risks, once China enters it will be extremely difficult for them to get out.”
As mentioned, access is one of China’s main interests in Afghanistan.
Chinese leaders have reportedly already negotiated an agreement with the Kabul authorities to invest in Afghan infrastructure as part of China’s international “Belt and Road Initiative”.
The trillion dollar program has funded several projects, typically focusing on physical infrastructure like airports, roads and seaports, in Asia, Africa and the Middle East.
US FORCES EXIT BAGRAM AIR BASE IN AFGHANISTAN
It was used by the Chinese Communist Party to increase its influence by granting infrastructure loans to poorer countries in return for control of local resources, of which Afghanistan has a lot.
Harnessing Afghanistan’s vast natural resources has been a long-standing goal for China.
The country has an estimated mineral wealth of $ 1,000 to $ 3 trillion, including rare semi-precious stones, copper, iron, gold, uranium and lithium, which are essential in batteries. for alternative energy sources.
The deal with the Afghan government would extend the China-Pakistan economic corridor by $ 62 billion, a project launched in 2013.
Chang, however, speculated that the extension of the BRI could end up benefiting the Afghans, not the Chinese. “I don’t think Belt and Road is really that important in the way Afghans think,” he said. “It just gives them more leverage over the Chinese, because once you start building an infrastructure, you have to protect it.”
When it comes to accessing Afghanistan’s vast untapped natural resources, he said it could be more expensive than China anticipated. “It’s going to be quite expensive for them to extract minerals from Afghanistan.”
“I’m not saying they can’t do it; I think they probably will. But the cost will be much higher than they currently envision.”
CLICK HERE TO GET THE FOX NEWS APP
“Afghanistan is an unruly country,” Chang said. “Even with [China’s] 30-year lease on their copper mine could not take advantage of it. ”
Finally, by gaining a foothold in the region, China seeks to deprive Uyghurs and other Turkish minorities of a sanctuary and to avoid an anarchic scenario in which a rise in Islamic fundamentalism on its border threatens internal security in China.
“Beijing is committing genocide and crimes against humanity against them, and they fear the Afghans will help the Uyghurs,” Chang said.
With its purchased influence, Beijing will expect the Taliban to ignore the “genocidal” oppression of their fellow Muslims, the 12 million Uyghurs in China’s Xinjiang province, which lies close to the Afghan and Pakistani borders.
Chang expressed his doubts, saying, “Although [the Chinese] are vicious, I don’t think they are as vicious as the items they are going to face. ”
“They have excellent relations with the Taliban, but the Taliban are not the only part of Afghan society. There are a lot of activists with very different interests,” he observed. “India can play these groups against China in Afghanistan, torment the Chinese, bog them down.”
In the end, Chang said he believed the US decision to pull out of Afghanistan was the right one.
“Right now, the biggest threat to the United States is not the militants in Afghanistan, but China. We were bogged down in Afghanistan with this whole nation-building notion.” He went on to suggest that the United States focus on redeploying its forces to help its friends and allies in the areas surrounding China.
“Beijing has a lot of money, they can do a lot of things, but they can’t do it all and right now they’re overwhelmed. And it looks like they’re going to add one more commitment to something that, yes, can. -be they can succeed, but it will be very expensive. “
“I would love to see China get bogged down in Afghanistan,” Chang admitted. “It’s going to be fun to watch.”
You Can Read Also