The Biden-engineered American defeat in Afghanistan has handed the West’s two greatest enemies – Communist China and Islamism – a history changing victory. And it should
surprise no one that they are jointly celebrating America’s defeat and humiliation.
While Islamists see Biden’s chaotic departure from Afghanistan as their victory (more on that in another column) the real and immediate victors are the Red Chinese, who are reaping an immense benefit in geopolitical and economic influence.
As Zhou Bo, an expert on the Chinese Army’s strategic thinking on international security, wrote in an op-ed for The New York Times, “Beijing has few qualms about fostering a closer relationship with the Taliban and is ready to assert itself as the most influential outside player in an Afghanistan all but abandoned by the United States.”
Indeed, as the last American plane departed Afghanistan the Taliban were welcoming the Communist Chinese in. “We are ready to exchange views with China on how to forge ahead in terms of boosting our mutual relations, establishing peace in the region, and its assistance in the reconstruction of Afghanistan,” said Taliban spokesman Suhail Shaheen, who went on to tell This Week in Asia that China can play a ‘constructive and positive’ role in reconstruction and economic development.
China, our ‘great neighbor,’ will help Afghanistan forge peace, concluded the Taliban spokesman.
But this was not a relationship that was forged overnight – it has been long planned and follows the Chinese response to another American Islamist defeat – Somalia.
As Alessandro Arduino explained in an August 23, 2021 op-ed, Chinese State Councillor Wang Yi met Taliban co-founder Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar in Tianjin on July 28 and described the group as a “pivotal military and political force.”
Got that? The Red Chinese hosted the Taliban IN CHINA a good month before the Afghan government began to crumble, and Beijing’s statements in the wake of the fall of Kabul, that it “respects the choice of Afghans,” will do nothing to quell speculation about China’s ambitions.
And Red China’s ambitions in the region are many.
Afghanistan is sitting on mineral deposits estimated to be worth up to $3 trillion, Reuters reported, quoting a former mines minister of the country.
And Komal Gupta of the Indian Express observed Afghanistan is home to what may be the world’s largest reserves of lithium – the key ingredient of the large-capacity lithium-ion batteries that are widely used in electric vehicles and the renewable energy industry. And since China dominates Lithium-Ion Battery Production worldwide, it may seek long-term a contract with the Taliban to develop Afghanistan’s massive untapped lithium reserves in return for mining rights and ownership arrangements.
Afghanistan is also rich in several other resources such as gold, oil, bauxite, rare earths, chromium, copper, natural gas, uranium, coal, iron ore, lead, zinc, gemstones, talc, sulfur, travertine, gypsum and marble, noted Gupta.
Returning to power in Afghanistan after 20 years, the Taliban has recaptured these massive mineral deposits. “With the U.S. withdrawal, Beijing can offer what Kabul needs most: political impartiality and economic investment,” Zhou Bo wrote. “Afghanistan in turn has what China most prizes: opportunities in infrastructure and industry building — areas in which China’s capabilities are arguably unmatched — and access to $1 trillion in untapped mineral deposits.”
Defending the $63 billion China-Pakistan Economic Corridor is also among Red China’s top priorities, but so is the exercise of “soft power” through economic development aid and building a cadre of China-friendly Afghan technocrats.
Mr. Arduino explained Somalia is part of a bold Chinese geopolitical bet for a high-risk, high-reward undertaking, and could shed some light on what Beijing could do next in Afghanistan.
In Somalia, Chinese soft power flows from university scholarships which allow more than 1,000 Somali students to study in mainland China, to Covid-19 aid, among other efforts. Since 2008, China has sent PLA Navy warships to escort commercial vessels, mostly Chinese, to protect them against the pirates that infest the Gulf of Aden.
Although Somalia remains a failed state, China is nonetheless firmly fixed on establishing a footprint in Somalia before the country is stabilized says Mr. Arduino. A key tool for this effort is the use of Chinese private security contractors to protect the country’s investments there. The embassy, for example, has contracted its security to local militias. Chinese private security companies in the country for anti-piracy operations and VIP close security protection are eager for a bigger piece of the pie – and live-fire experience – so they are bidding aggressively in Beijing for contracts to provide security for diplomatic staff.
Beijing’s experiment with private security contractors to lay the groundwork for stabilizing Somalia will be a litmus test for its broader participation in Afghanistan. Though Chinese security contractors lack sophisticated equipment or battle-tested capabilities – of the kind deployed by Russian private military companies operating in the African continent – they can provide valuable intelligence to Beijing and a boots on the ground presence that the People’s Liberation Army cannot, observed Mr. Arduino.
As we explained in our article, Red China’s Economic Warfare Includes Buying Up America, Communist Chinese military doctrine is based on “all-domain operations” in which every avenue is to be exploited to advance the Chinese goal of world domination. In Afghanistan America lost to Red China across many domains, economic, geopolitical and influence being just the three most obvious. It is no surprise that the Communist Chinese are exploiting Joe Biden’s defeat in Afghanistan, just as they are exploiting Bill Clinton’s 1993 defeat in Somalia for advantages that the United States may not recognize for generations.
Kamala Harris Asia trip
ISI intelligence agency
South China Sea
United States Navy
Chinese all domain warfare
Afghan mineral deposits
Chinese economic development