09/08/2021 – ‘End of anarchy’: Why is China warming up to the Taliban? What experts say

Posted on Sep 8, 2021

source: https://www.hindustantimes.com/world-news/why-is-china-warming-up-to-the-taliban-what-experts-say-101631098719280-amp.html

China, the Taliban’s most important partner, has said it sees the setting up of the new government in Afghanistan by the Taliban as an end to the anarchy that has been going on in the country for the past two weeks. China also said it is ready to keep the communication channel with the Taliban open. This warming up comes though China is wary of the Taliban providing support to Uyghur separatists.

Taliban, on the other hand, said that they are very appreciative of China’s aid and projects. The Taliban consider China as the most important partner, a Taliban spokesperson said.

Experts have started reading between the lines and breaking down the driving factors between the Taliban and China being warm to each other from day one.

‘China’s interest in Beld and Road’

China does not want any reforms in Afghanistan. Neither do issues like human rights and women’s rights are ever China’s priority, Chinese dissident Jianli Yang wrote in an opinion piece in the Washington Times. “China’s own interests must be the starting point for Beijing’s review of the ever-changing situation in Afghanistan. China has no interest in reforming Afghanistan, nor does it have the strength to do so,” he wrote.

China wants to deploy military Bagram airbase

China is looking to expand its influence in the region by deploying military personnel at Bagram airfield, Paul D Shinkman, writing in US News said. The Chinese military is currently conducting a feasibility study about the effect of sending workers, soldiers and other staff related to its foreign economic investment program known as the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) in the coming years to Bagram, according to a source briefed on the study by Chinese military officials, who spoke to US News on the condition of anonymity, said Shinkman.

China can also do this through Pakistan. “But if feasible, I am sure they would like to cut out the middleman,” Yun Sun, director of the China Program at the Stimson Center think tank, said.

What China did in Cambodia and Myanmar

The US News analysis draws a parallel to what China did in other countries as well. “Earlier also China’s military, the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) reportedly secured exclusive rights to roughly a third of the Ream Naval Base in Cambodia in recent years through an expansion there it’s backed,” the report said. Similarly in Myanmar, China radar and other military equipment to the local junta on the Coco Islands, where China reportedly held leasing rights for the last three decades.

“It has employed similar tactics in neighbouring Pakistan, with which it has bolstered new security and intelligence-sharing arrangement in recent years,” the analysis said.

(With agency inputs)