The Chinese regime says the United States can’t simply walk away from the Afghanistan chaos, in its latest salvo directed at Washington amid an aggressive propaganda campaign leveraging the crisis.
Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin on Aug. 23 cast the United States as the “chief root cause and biggest factor” for the unfolding instability in Afghanistan, saying that the United States “should not simply take to its heels” but should instead provide reconstruction and humanitarian aid.
The Chinese regime also sees an opportunity to fill the void left by the United States in an area that Beijing considers its own backyard—Afghanistan shares a 47-mile border with China’s Xinjiang. But the regime is also wary that instability in the country could spill over to neighboring Pakistan and Central Asia and potentially make its way to the Chinese border.
Since Afghanistan’s fall to the Taliban, the group and Beijing have both expressed a desire to stay on friendly terms. The Chinese regime, falling short of recognizing the group as the new ruler, has previously described the Taliban takeover as “the will and choice of the Afghan people.” Wang, in the Aug. 23 press briefing, promised that Beijing would “play an active role in promoting peace” in Afghanistan and helping the nation to “achieve self-development.”
The Taliban last week expressed hopes that Beijing could contribute to the country’s rebuilding efforts, with a spokesperson telling Chinese state media that the group had been in touch with a Chinese delegate Beijing recently appointed to liaise with the new regime.
But China–Taliban relations will be more pragmatic in nature than the warm friendship portrayed by Chinese state media, analysts say.
By Eva Fu