China Seeks to Fill Political Void in Afghanistan

China is looking to fill political and security void in the region after the US troops and the West left Afghanistan, for which it had long been prepared, writes Jessica Taneja.

Jessica Taneja is a journalist based in Delhi. 

With the Taliban's resurgence in Afghanistan, the current establishment is in doldrums and unable to fill the power vacuum. The deadline for withdrawal of US forces is drawing closer, allowing China to significantly increase activity in Afghanistan. Apart from economic and diplomatic ambitions, China is looking to fill the political and security void in the region.  For China, Afghanistan is a strategic source that will enable the dragon nation to consolidate its power in Asia. Afghanistan, also known as "graveyard of empires" has remained unconquerable by western forces. Now China sees an opportunity to be the peacemaker and keep violence from spiralling out of control. In fact, Chinese foreign Minister Wang Yi recently played host to nine prominent Taliban representatives to discuss peace and security issues.

Beijing's sudden interest in the region should not come as a surprise. For many years China lobbied the Taliban and its allies to solidify relationships. With the United States deserting Afghanistan, China has an opportunity to operate with impunity and be in direct contact with the Taliban.  Chinese trade support to a Taliban-controlled nation will make it a powerful influence in the region. Afghanistan has rich reserves of copper, coal, iron, gas, cobalt, mercury, gold, lithium and thorium, which is valued at over $1 trillion. China will leave no stone unturned in packaging the nation to its one belt one road initiative. With the Taliban eyeing reconstruction of the region, China will provide...

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