A state of the gold mine in Noarba, Takhar, Afghanistan.
Omar Sobani | Reuters
One of the first things many Western experts predicted that the chaotic US withdrawal from Afghanistan was unraveled was the power vacuum of China, a long-time critic and strategic enemy of the United States. It was a vacuum replacement.
With trillions of dollars worth of undeveloped mineral resources in Afghanistan and the urgent need for infrastructure investment, it is theoretically the main foundation of China’s vast Belt and Road Initiative. In addition, China is one of the few countries and the only economic power to have built friendly relations with the Taliban, which overtook Afghanistan in a few days in early August and shocked the world.
Chinese state officials have blamed Washington and its 20-year war, as many consider it a symbolic provocation to the West, and this week the Taliban wanted a hardliner and the FBI to become a new terrorist government. We carefully welcomed the announcement.
The Taliban will control Hamid Karzai International Airport after the completion of the US withdrawal from Afghanistan in Kabul, Afghanistan on August 31, 2021.
Warisa Bounce | Anadolu Agency | Getty Images
“This is a necessary step in ending Afghanistan’s more than three weeks of anarchy and restoring Afghanistan’s domestic order and post-war reconstruction,” Wang Wenbin, a spokesman for the Chinese Foreign Ministry, said in a briefing Wednesday. Stated. A copy issued by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of China.
But beyond the statement, experts in many regions are not convinced of China’s enthusiasm to bombard the war-torn Central Asian states on the western border.
China has long been wary of Islamic extremists at its western end. Analysts have also decided that the Soviet Union and the United States will not fall into the same swamp that was sucked into Afghanistan.
“China is interested in economic involvement in Afghanistan and its belt and road expansion, including reconstruction and investment in landlocked untapped mineral resources,” said Rain in Stratfor’s South Asia. Analyst Ekta Ragwansi told CNBC.
“But given Afghanistan’s security concerns and China’s proximity to the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, it will not invest substantially immediately,” she warned, of Uighur militants and the Turkistan Islamic movement. Mentioned the resurrection.
And China has revealed the Taliban’s approval, but that doesn’t mean it’s ready to commit to doing business with them.
“There is no evidence that China considers Tullivan a safer partner,” Maximilian Hess, a Central Asian Fellow of the Eurasian Program at the Institute for Foreign Policy, told CNBC.
“We are fully aware of the security risks and the number of attacks by Islamic groups on Pakistan’s infrastructure in China has increased in recent years,” Hess said. China is at risk of offending local Afghanistan with its presence, and Beijing “is aware of the reality of Afghanistan’s tribes, and the Taliban has many factions that can operate with quasi-autonomy in many areas. There is. ”
Therefore, even if the Taliban, which accepts China’s diplomatic overture and celebrates its investment outlook, gives Chinese investors a security guarantee, the group does not necessarily dominate nearly 40 million other militants and tribes. I’m not.
Beijing, like Russia, is concerned about the implications of the US withdrawal, analysts said.
As a journalist Sreemoy Talukdar Written in the Indian news agency Firstpost This week, China “may have been fascinated by the upset of the United States during a pinched exit … but so far, in a region that is a true witch brewing of terrorism and ethnic rebellion. I was quite happy with America’s role as a guarantor next door. “
The Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs did not respond to CNBC’s request for comment.
The Taliban continues to be licensed by the United States, EU and United Nations. This poses obvious legal and financial risks to anyone wishing to do business with the group.
“Any transaction signed with the Taliban faces obvious political and sanctions risks,” said Jonathan Wood, Deputy Global Research Director of Control Risk.
China has successfully navigated US sanctions in the past and has proven to be importing Iranian oil, which has been embargoed due to the use of “ghost ships” and the like. However, some Chinese companies have been hit by US penalties, and in the case of Afghanistan, security risks make it even less attractive to push that boundary.
“Western sanctions mean that even if the Taliban are granted (by China), few banks or financial institutions will do business with the Taliban government while those sanctions remain,” Hess said. ..
Afghanistan’s mineral resources are staggering. With over 60 tons of copper reserves, more than 2.2 billion tons of iron ore, and 1.4 million tons of rare earth minerals, the country is coveted for use in electronic products such as lithium, which is in high demand for electric vehicle batteries. .. According to a 1.6 billion US geological survey, 1 barrel of crude oil, 16 trillion cubic feet of natural gas, and 500 million barrels of natural gas liquor.
But so far, it has proven to be nearly impossible to reach.
In 2008, a consortium of Chinese companies undertook a 30-year lease of Mes Aynak, Afghanistan’s largest copper project. To date (13 years later), no mining project work has begun.
This is due to a combination of security issues, state corruption and infrastructure constraints, but is worth more than $ 100 billion if it is estimated to hold 11.08 million tonnes of copper at current London Metal Exchange prices. there is.
“Afghanistan’s limited infrastructure (electricity, roads, railroads), difficult terrain, and landlocked geography continue to impede the development of natural resources,” said Stratfor’s Wood.
Samuel Ramani, an international affairs tutor at Oxford University, has not necessarily stopped China in the past, as investment in Sudan and Congo shows, despite all restrictions.
Given the stagnation of previous Afghan ventures, “I think China’s involvement in Afghanistan is very similar to their intended reconstruction plan in Syria,” Ramani said. “There is a lot of speculation, but few in substance.”
The purpose of Chinese rumors to dive into Afghanistan is exaggerated: Experts
Source link The purpose of Chinese rumors to dive into Afghanistan is exaggerated: Experts