In Approaching the Taliban, China Will Tread Carefully
MIN READSep 3, 2021 | 16:55 GMT
Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid addresses media at the Kabul airport on Aug. 31, 2021.
(WAKIL KOHSAR/AFP via Getty Images)
Taliban comments that China is their main partner appear more aspirational than a confirmation of significant Chinese advances in Afghanistan. In an interview in the Italian paper la Repubblica published Sept. 1, Taliban spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid called China the Taliban government’s “main partner,” expressed confidence in future Chinese investments in infrastructure and mining, and linked Afghanistan to world markets through China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). The comments have stirred international attention, appearing to confirm assessments that China has “won” Afghanistan after the U.S. withdrawal. Beijing, however, is taking a more cautious approach to Afghanistan, and any significant infrastructure development or economic activity will still require the Taliban to provide a more stable environment -- something far from certain. ...