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Communist China seems eager to recognize the Taliban as the legitimate government of Afghanistan. For that matter, so does Russia.
Common concerns about instability in Central Asia could push the two rogue regimes toward cooperation in the aftermath of the United States’ tragic surrender in Afghanistan.
During the haphazard U.S. evacuation, the Chinese government met with Taliban leaders, and state-run media outlets signaled a growing acceptance of the Taliban’s takeover. Afghanistan, which shares a long border with China’s western regions, has abundant natural resources, particularly rare earth metals, but basically no mining infrastructure. China is preparing to fill that void.
Despite claims to the contrary, the Trump administration last year pursued a flawed bargain with the Taliban, which the terrorist group predictably and repeatedly violated. They bade their time before the unnecessary announcement by President Joe Biden earlier this year.
China also recently increased its economic and military partnership with Pakistan, whose government has influence over the Taliban.
U.S. News and World Report reported last week that “China is prepared to recognize the Taliban as the legitimate ruler of Afghanistan” and “new Chinese military and intelligence assessments of the realities on the ground in Afghanistan have prompted leaders in the Chinese Communist Party to prepare to formalize their relationship with the insurgent network.”
When China’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Wang Yi met with Taliban commander Ghani Baradar in late July, Yi said the Taliban “is a pivotal military and political force in Afghanistan and is expected to play an important role in the process of peace, reconciliation, and reconstruction in Afghanistan.”
The Chinese government claims Baradar “said that China has always been a trustworthy and good friend of the Afghan people, and appreciates China’s fair and active role in the process of peace and reconciliation in Afghanistan.”
Baradar reportedly said the Taliban “are fully sincere in striving for and achieving peace and are willing to work with all parties to build a political structure in Afghanistan that is inclusive and acceptable to all the Afghan people to protect human rights and the rights of women and children.”
When not claiming Taliban victory, spokesman Mohammad Naeem tweeted in late July, “The Islamic Emirate assured China that Afghanistan would be its territory is not used against the security of any country. China pledged to continue and expand its cooperation with the Afghan people.”
Asked about the China-Taliban meeting three-and-a-half weeks ago, Secretary of State Antony Blinken argued that China’s role could still be positive in Afghanistan.
“Well, I think many countries immediately neighboring Afghanistan and in the broader region, including China, have interests in Afghanistan. And as it happens, those interests largely align,” Blinken, who also believes Kabul is not Saigon, said. “No one has an interest in a military takeover of the country by the Taliban, the restoration of an Islamic emirate. Everyone has an interest in a peaceful resolution of the conflict and some kind of government that emerges that’s truly representative and inclusive. And so if China is acting on those interests, if other countries are acting on those interests, that’s a positive thing.”
Chalk most of this up to another horrendous error in judgment by Team Biden.