China doesn’t care whether the Taliban wins or loses - either way, it stands to gain

The Chinese Communist Party wants to fill the vacuum left by the US troop withdrawal using its Belt and Road initiative, reports Mayank Aggarwal

Tuesday 27 July 2021 13:38
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<p>China's foreign minister Wang Yi (L) and US special representative for Afghanistan reconciliation, Zalmay Khalilzad</p>

China's foreign minister Wang Yi (L) and US special representative for Afghanistan reconciliation, Zalmay Khalilzad

As soon as the US announced the withdrawal of its troops from Afghanistan, Beijing knew it would be dealing with a resurgent Taliban. Since then it has walked a tightrope, neither criticising it completely nor embracing it.

China keenly understands the risks of dipping its toes in Afghanistan’s internal politics after the withdrawal, which is expected to finish by 31 August. It is also aware of the ripple effects that Afghanistan’s government, the Taliban and Pakistan can create across the region.

This may be why China is exercising caution. Earlier this month, China’s foreign minister Wang Yi said the Taliban should “make a clean break with all terrorist forces and return to Afghanistan’s political mainstream” at a press conference in Dushanbe with the Tajik foreign minister Sirojiddin Muhriddin.

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