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HomeGeopolitical CompassEast AsiaWhat China wants to see under a Taliban-led Afghanistan

What China wants to see under a Taliban-led Afghanistan

Author: Fan Hongda (translated by Candice Chan, Grace Chong)

Affiliation: Professor, Middle East Studies Institute, Shanghai International Studies University

Organization/Publisher: Think China 

Date/Place: August 20, 2021/Sydney

Type of Literature: Article

Word Count: 1843 


Keywords: China, Afghanistan, Taliban, Diplomacy


The tremendous political shift that is occurring as the Taliban has taken over the country from the US-backed government marks the failure of US foreign policy in Afghanistan, and the media foresees that China, as the current key competitor to the US, will fill the so-called “power vacuum” in Afghanistan. In this article, the author analyzes how China intends to engage with the new government of Afghanistan. After the Taliban takes over governing power in the country, it must convince the international community that it can lead the country. In doing so, it has to take care of the following issues: First, how will it engage with other political forces in Afghanistan to achieve domestic unity in rebuilding the country? Second, how will it engage with the international community, because without recognition by the international community the government will have little space to improve. Third, how will it manage economic development and the improvement of people’s livelihood? With many people connecting the US pullout from Afghanistan with the US-China competition, the author argues that the media has over-interpreted the situation in Afghanistan and the great power competition. The author claims that China has no intention in filling the position that the US once had in Afghanistan, and that what China wants is stability and peace in the region by pushing for reconciliation and unity of the various political forces in Afghanistan. Hence, any influence of China in Afghanistan would be a natural outcome from a mutually beneficial development of both countries. Finally, the author suggests that Western countries not over-interpret the relations between China and the Taliban, because such cooperation is the normal way of communication among the international community.


By: Salman Nugraha, CIGA Research Intern



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