Under Biden’s guidance, the United States has withdrawn its troops in Afghanistan, leaving behind a massive void in the nation. Based upon current media reports, the remaining troops representing the U.S. military were removed from the final base in the region on Friday.
From Kabul, an anonymous source reported that various Afghani authorities are presently working with China to fill that void. As part of filling the void, China and Afghanistan may agree to a deal regarding the improvement of Afghanistan’s infrastructure, which is known as CHina’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). This program is estimated to cost $1T, and it has provided various funding amounts for diverse infrastructure projects.
Various sources have also reported that the BRI deal would provide a $62B extension to the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, which is a flagship project of the BRI. This particular project involves the construction of infrastructure, which would reach to Afghanistan. These announcements emerge as Hamid Karzai, the previous president of Afghanistan, publicly stated that China could be a significant influence in changing Afghanistan’s future.
Karzai claimed that China, Pakistan, and Afghanistan are neighbors, which means that they “are connected geographically.” Karzai also added that China can play “a significant role” and “very important role” when it comes to the improvement of the relationship between Pakistan and Afghanistan, as well as ensuring that synchrony could be created between both nations.
Fascinating piece on #Afghanistan's remote Wakhan Corridor and a new road linking it to China, offering better economic connectivity. Strong presence in and around Wakhan also important for China's security play with regard to Xinjiang. https://t.co/fmfX1uzURP pic.twitter.com/HHsFcpVyCJ
— Kabir Taneja (@KabirTaneja) July 4, 2021
Moreover, other reports have observed that China is aiming to connect with 60 nations via sea and land with its BRI project, which carries the potential of increasing China’s global influence. Given Afghanistan’s geographical position, it is possible that China could envision the country as a potentially strategic base.
Previously, Afghanistan has reportedly not joined the BRI as a result of nonexistent support from the American government. However, since the U.S. has withdrawn troops from Afghanistan, its influence has decreased significantly.
Despite the waning American influence, China’s power in the nation could be highly dependent upon the Taliban, a terrorist group that has directly contributed to increased attacks after the United States announced that it would be removing its troops from Afghanistan. In addition, the Taliban has allegedly been taking back territory across the northern region of Afghanistan as multiple thousands have attempted to fight back against the terrorist insurgents.
Though the Taliban continues to have a strong impact on the nation, a significant percentage of Afghanis are primarily interested in peace. Consequently, the Taliban could prove to be a major problem for China in terms of the Asian nation’s desire to take over the embattled Middle Eastern country.
Both pro-state and anti-state sources have been cited as responsible for violence across the country.