Afghanistan is strategic to China’s economic and military expansion in the Middle East, Eurasia.
China is considering sending troops to Afghanistan after the planned U.S. military withdrawal in coming month. “China may send peacekeeping force to Afghanistan after US troops leave,” the Hong Kong daily South China Morning Post reported Friday, citing senior Chinese national security experts.
The report comes after this week’s announcement by President Joe Biden to withdraw all U.S. troops from Afghanistan. According to the plan, 2,500 U.S. servicemen and a further 7,000 allied NATO troops will leave the country by September 11, 2021.
Following the Biden White House announcement, China raised the alarm about the security situation in the Taliban-ridden country close to its western borders. On Thursday, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian warned that “terrorist forces” may take over Afghanistan once the U.S. pulls out.
Afghanistan is strategic to China’s economic and military expansion in Eurasia and the Middle East, also known as the Belt and Road Initiative.
China’s pretense that it is worried about the rising Islamism in the region is hypocritical at best. Beijing is supporting two of the worst terror-sponsoring regimes in its backyard: Iran and Pakistan. China is building a military and naval presence in neighboring Pakistan and has just recently signed 25-year military-economic pact with Iran.
The South China Morning Post reported:
Beijing may consider sending a peacekeeping force to Afghanistan if the security situation in the South Asian country poses a threat to the neighbouring Chinese province of Xinjiang after American troops pull out, analysts said. (…)
In 2018, China trained Afghan troops and helped set up a mountain brigade.
The training took place in China and the aim of the brigade was to counter possible attacks by al-Qaeda and Islamic State. “The security forces of the Afghan government are not capable of ensuring Afghan security,” said Sun Qi, an international relations specialist at the Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences.
“The situation in Afghanistan might go further into chaos in the future. Cross-border crime, drug trafficking and smuggling of firearms may proliferate,” he said. (…)
“If the security situation poses a significant threat, China may send peacekeeping troops along with humanitarian assistance to the region under the terms of the Charter of the United Nations to ensure the safety and interests of Chinese people and companies there,” he said.
Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said on Thursday that foreign troops stationed in Afghanistan should withdraw in a “responsible and orderly manner” to prevent terrorist forces from taking advantage of the chaos.
China has long cultivated Pakistan as a military and geostrategic ally. China’s People’s Liberation Army (PLA) is getting a naval base in Gwadar, Pakistan. The Arabian Sea port, combined with the 700 mile China-owned corridor running through Pakistan, extends China’s military reach to the Middle East.
Last month, China signed a $400 billion economic and military pact with Iran, reportedly giving it access to Iranian military, air and naval bases.
With President Biden in the White House, China is projecting its economic and military strength in the Middle East. During last month’s trip to the Middle East, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi promised to protect Arab countries from U.S. “interference.”
The Chinese foreign minister launched the Middle East “Security and Stability Initiative,” pledging to create a “framework for collective, comprehensive, cooperative and sustainable security in the Middle East” under its stewardship. Such geostrategic moves are bound to increase China military clout in the jihad-ridden and oil-rich region.DONATE
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