What Happened: China has begun building a training camp for Afghan troops in the Wakhan corridor in northern Afghanistan, the South China Morning Post reported Aug. 28. While one anonymous source cited in the report said China would send troops to the camp once it is finished, the Afghan Embassy in Beijing announced that no Chinese military personnel would be stationed on Afghan soil.
Why It Matters: China has previously avoided military operations beyond its borders, but Beijing is concerned that Afghanistan's instability could threaten its Belt and Road Initiative or provide a path for Uighur militants and separatist groups to enter China. To counter this threat, China has increased its security presence in the region by building a new base and by working to support Pakistan and Tajikistan's counterterrorism efforts. China may need to increase its role in Afghanistan's conflict and peace process to ensure the country does not become so unstable that it threatens Chinese interests or security.
Background: As Beijing has increased its involvement in Afghanistan's peace process, it has expanded its diplomatic relations with Kabul and Islamabad. Like China, Russia has worked to expand its regional security presence and involvement in the peace process in an effort to counter the persistent threat of militancy and instability from Central Asia.