The rapid advance of the Taliban since May set regional governments on edge, with Tajikistan and Pakistan rushing troops to their borderlands, and Russia and China conducting military and security drills in Tajikistan as well, amid fears the war could spill across the porous, high-altitude borders.
Chinese security experts traveled to the Tajik capital of Dushanbe on Wednesday for two days of joint security drills with their counterparts in the mountainous nation. Dubbed the “Counterterrorism Collaboration 2021” exercises, the drills were planned in advance and are part of a longstanding security collaboration between the two nations.
However, the exercises have taken on a new urgency as the Taliban’s blitz on the Afghan government encountered wild success over the weekend, sending the Afghan military into complete collapse and former President Ashraf Ghani fleeing the country as Kabul surrendered without a fight.
Zhao said the exercises “would enhance the level of operational readiness of the counterterrorism forces of the two sides to practise counterterrorism skills, and demonstrate the determination of both sides to combat terrorism and effectively respond to the terrorist threats faced by both countries.”
China’s primary concern in Central Asia is stability, particularly in Afghanistan, where Beijing hopes to convince the Taliban to end its support for terrorist groups like the East Turkestan Islamic Movement (ETIM), which in the past has been allowed…