Opinion | How the U.S. Exit from Afghanistan Helps China

Beijing is now additionally positioned to carry larger affect over the nation’s political panorama. Afghanistan’s historical past tells us that one group isn’t accountable for your complete nation, and given the Taliban’s lightning takeover, it’s cheap to anticipate some civil strife. China — already the biggest troop contributor to U.N. peacekeeping missions among the many 5 everlasting members of the United Nations Safety Council — has additionally registered a peacekeeping standby power of 8,000 troops — a transfer that would make it one of many largest contributors total. If a U.N. peacekeeping mission is deployed to Afghanistan, Chinese language peacekeepers, coming from a pleasant neighboring nation, will nearly definitely be extra welcome than these from afar.

Turning into an influential participant in Afghanistan additionally implies that Beijing is best positioned to stop what it considers anti-Chinese language teams from gaining a foothold within the nation. A major concern of China is the East Turkestan Islamic Motion. In response to a Chinese language authorities report, the group had early roots in Afghanistan. In response to the U.N., it acquired Taliban and Al Qaeda help within the 2000s. Some students and consultants query whether or not the group has the capability to instigate violence, or whether or not it even continues to exist. Nonetheless, China’s international minister, Wang Yi, mentioned in a July assembly with Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, the deputy chief of the Taliban, that he hoped the Taliban would “make a clear break” with the East Turkestan group as a result of it “poses a direct menace to China’s nationwide safety and territorial integrity.” Mr. Wang additionally expressed hope that the Taliban would “construct a constructive picture and pursue an inclusive coverage” — a sign that China needs the Taliban to make good on its promise of “inclusive” governance.

In response, Mr. Baradar promised that the Taliban would by no means permit any group to make use of the Afghan territory to interact in acts dangerous to China.

The important thing to Afghanistan’s peace and stability, in fact, additionally lies partly in Pakistan. Regardless of their proximity, the “conjoined twins,” as described by the previous Afghan president Hamid Karzai, don’t at all times look in the identical course. Pakistan’s Afghanistan coverage is pushed largely by the strategic targets of making certain a pleasant authorities in Kabul and undercutting India’s growing affect in Afghanistan. It’s in Beijing’s personal curiosity — not least for the success of Belt-and-Highway — to make sure that Pakistan and Afghanistan are on good phrases.

It’s no secret that China already enjoys robust affect in Pakistan. Anticipating a extra outstanding function and future necessity, Beijing pledged in June to proceed serving to develop and enhance relations between the 2 international locations.

Lastly, although the US is leaving, there is a chance for Beijing and Washington to work collectively for a secure Afghanistan. China and the US, regardless of their variations, have loved some cooperation in Afghanistan already — for instance, collectively coaching diplomats and technicians. Neither nation needs to see Afghanistan slide right into a civil warfare. Each of them help a political answer that’s Afghan-led and Afghan-owned. Due to this fact, Afghanistan supplies an space for the 2 competing giants to search out some frequent trigger.

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