Slowly but surely, China is moving into Afghanistan
While Afghans are fearing that the US may be about to “betray” them by significantly reducing its military presence in the country, China seems interested in getting more involved in Afghanistan by making it part of its 2013 Belt and Road Initiative (BRI).
The BRI comprises Chinese infrastructure projects in over 60 countries across the globe. And while Afghanistan has not been included, China is the largest business investor in Afghanistan, and the Chinese government may be hoping that a potential peace deal between the US and the Taliban could lead to the kind of stability it seeks for BRI projects. According to Andrew Small of the German Marshall Fund, “Afghanistan has been peripheral to the Belt and Road because it simply hasn’t been possible to pursue a serious economic agenda there.” However, he believes that “[i]f there is a political settlement, that could change – though China will still tread very carefully until it’s clear that any settlement holds.”