Afghanistan has long been considered a graveyard for conquerors–Alexander the Great, the British Empire, the Soviet Union and now the United States. Now China has entered the graveyard and some in Beijing claimed that China would succeed where the United States had failed.
But Seth G Jones and Jude Blanchette, writing in Foreign Affairs said that what’s bad for Washington isn’t necessarily good for Beijing.
Afghanistan is a Pandora’s Box for China. Beijing’s leaders are deeply anxious about the emerging order in Afghanistan, which could threaten the region’s stability and enable jihadi terror to spill over into China’s restive western regions, which are home to large Muslim populations.
Along with Afghanistan’s other neighbours, China must now depend on the Taliban to stabilize a fractured and violent country, says Jones and Blanchette.
Beijing knows that the group’s governing track record is bleak, even in the rural areas it has controlled for the past several years. And to make matters worse, Afghanistan’s economy will struggle to rebound without an enormous infusion of international aid, including from China.
Such uncertainty will exacerbate Beijing’s long-standing fears about transnational extremist links between Afghanistan and Xinjiang