The People’s Liberation Army has set up a military base in the Wakhan Corridor, which borders Pakistan, Tajikistan and China, according to the South China Morning Post. The base apparently serves two functions according to the report, first to secure the borders in the region and to prevent further so-called terror activities of the Islamic Uighur population in China’s Xinjiang Province.
The war-torn Central Asian country has become increasingly important for China’s own security, as well as President Xi Jinping’s “Belt and Road Initiative”, a huge trade and infrastructure plan.
“Construction of the base has started, and China will send at least one battalion of troops, along with weapons and equipment, to be stationed there and provide training to their Afghan counterparts,” one of the sources said.
Operating in the area for at least a year and rumored to have kept a presence for longer, their presence is now made official by the establishment of a permanent post. The buildup is interesting considering the hosting of the Taliban by Russia this month. Both China and Russia have an interest in Afghanistan that goes beyond simple regional security. As I pointed out in the previous article, it’s likely lithium and opium production.
Li Wei, a counterterrorism specialist at the China Institutes of Contemporary International Relations, said that in addition to providing military support, Beijing had also increased economic cooperation with Afghanistan, which is rich in natural resources, with more than 1,400 mineral deposits.
“Defence and [economic] development have always been the basis for mutual benefit,” Li Wei said. “That’s because if both sides just focus on security cooperation, it won’t be a sustainable relationship.”
The interesting factor is Russia negotiating with the Taliban, a direct challenge to the recipients of Chinese military aid being aligned with East Turkestan Islamic Movement, the name of the radical group operating in Xinjiang Province. It is likely that amid a complete US withdrawal the Taliban would return to power politically and be bolstered by both nations, thus eliminating the factional warfare conundrum the nation faced after the collapse of the Soviet-backed Democratic People’s Republic of Afghanistan government. Both Russia and China may have found a temporary partner in the return of the Taliban, as there exists a rift between them and the buildup of Islamic State-aligned militants. In my experience the Afghans of all regions were highly xenophobic of outsiders, which makes the potential infighting between Islamic groups likely.
China’s interest is preventing that buildup also- and in turn keeping Xinjiang in line with the Communist hegemony. That said there will be another chapter in the war there as the US formally withdraws. The faces may change but the proxies will not. It will very well result in war at home for both them and Russia.
They have created a long term plan for the future- one that does not include the United States. As we continue to decline culturally and morally, their agents are working on our shores to hasten domestic destabilization. The larger picture might be grim, but it should give you the strongest reasons to prepare.