(RightWing.org) – Aristotle coined the phrase “nature abhors a vacuum,” and the same can be said of international politics and military power. When President Joe Biden decided to unilaterally change an agreement that former President Donald Trump had made with the Taliban terrorist group for the withdrawal of United States military forces from Afghanistan, the world saw the disastrous results. With the insurgents now in control of the country and the Western nations suddenly gone, the People’s Republic of China (PRC) and its ruling body, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), have stepped in to strengthen ties that they had begun to foster a decade or more ago.
Quid Pro Quo
As the Chinese Spring Festival (Lunar New Year) was approaching, China’s Foreign Minister Qin Gang held an hour-long phone conversation with Afghan’s Acting Foreign Minister Amir Khan Muttaqi, asking the interim government in Kabul to ensure the safety of Chinese nationals and business interests in their country. The concern from Beijing arose from the December attack on a hotel allegedly launched by the Islamic State-Khorasan Province (ISIS-K).
The offshoot group of ISIS, who former President Barack Obama once called the JV (junior varsity), attacked the Longan Hotel because a group of Chinese investors was staying there. Just after the first of the year, the Taliban attacked and killed a group of ISIS-K militants, including those believed responsible for the hotel attack. In a move purportedly for the purpose of enhancing Afghanistan’s ability to protect its citizens, there have been reports of modernized military equipment being sold to them by Beijing.
In what had to have been the most coincidental of happenstance, the very next day, the government in Kabul signed an agreement with China’s Xinjiang Central Asia Petroleum and Gas Co. The contract is for gas and oil extraction and comes with a reported price tag of $540 million with the Afghan government having a 20% partnership stake that could, over time, increase to 75%, according to Reuters.
This agreement appears to be a piece of the CCP’s Belt and Road Initiative that has the intent of intertwining Chinese political and financial interests with developing countries in order to supplant the United States as a world superpower. By providing food, infrastructure, and medical technology to underdeveloped nations, they hope to create a dependency on China’s markets.
During their phone conversation, Minister Qin told Muttaqi that China would always respect Afghanistan’s independence and would not interfere with “their religious beliefs and national customs,” according to the state-run newspaper Global Times. Some observers believe this means they would leave the Taliban to implement Sharia Law, which has already begun restricting women’s rights in the country.
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