The World Bank has predicted a 20% decline in international aid to Afghanistan in the wake of the Taliban’s seizure of power, which could still grow further, depending on the new government’s course. Already inadequate to meet the country’s needs, neighboring China could fill that gap and then some, giving Beijing leverage in Kabul.
Chinese firms are ready to “deliver genuine investment and technical support” in the wake of the US withdrawal from Afghanistan, officials told the Global Times, but noted that the threat of serious Western sanctions was likely to endanger their plans. Beijing has banked heavily on the hope the Taliban can be influenced to form a moderate and stable government with the promise of regional economic integration.
Afghanistan isn’t a totally new realm for Chinese investors, but the US withdrawal, coupled with the lightning-quick Taliban victory, have created perhaps the best conditions for peace in the country in decades.
US Versus Chinese Models
Because the US has pursued massive profit-making for its corporations in countries where it has intervened, Western thinkers have assumed China will have the same behavior as it becomes increasingly engaged in Afghanistan. Numerous articles and think pieces have been written about “$1 trillion in minerals” up for the taking and how Beijing is “about to tuck Afghanistan under Its Belt and Road.” However, as one official from a Chinese state-owned enterprise told the Global Times,…