China and Russia are the real winners

The real winners in Afghanistan were Russia and China.   The intrepid foreign correspondent Pepe Escobar of Asia Times reported on how the Russians and Chinese have advised the Taliban on how to put their best foot forward.  He went on to write:

What matters is that Russia-China are way ahead of the curve, cultivating parallel inside tracks of diplomatic dialogue with the Taliban. 

It’s always crucial to remember that Russia harbors 20 million Muslims, and China at least 35 million.  These will be called to support the immense project of Afghan reconstruction – and full Eurasia reintegration.

Source: BBC

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi saw it coming weeks ago.  And that explains the meeting in Tianjin in late July, when he hosted a high-level Taliban delegation, led by Mullah Baradar, de facto conferring them total political legitimacy.

Beijing already knew the Saigon moment was inevitable. Thus the statement stressing China expected to “play an important role in the process of peaceful reconciliation and reconstruction in Afghanistan”.

What this means in practice is China will be a partner of Afghanistan on infrastructure investment, via Pakistan, incorporating it into an expanded China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) bound to diversify connectivity channels with Central Asia.

The New Silk Road corridor from Xinjiang to the port of Gwadar in the Arabian Sea will branch out: the first graphic illustration is Chinese construction of the ultra-strategic Peshawar-Kabul highway.

The Chinese are also building a major road across the geologically spectacular, deserted Wakhan corridor from western Xinjiang all the way to Badakhshan province, which incidentally, is now under total Taliban control.

The trade off is quite straightforward: the Taliban should allow no safe haven for the East Turkestan Islamic Movement (ETIM), and no interference in Xinjiang.

The overall trade/security combo looks like a certified win-win.  And we’re not even talking about future deals allowing China to exploit Afghanistan’s immense mineral wealth.


How Russia-China are stage-managing the Taliban by Pepe Escobar for The Vineyard of the Saker.

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5 Responses to “China and Russia are the real winners”

  1. Bill Harvey Says:

    Link to the original:

    Thanks, Phil!

    If the Taliban holds to the direction laid out by Escobar here, it could be the best deal available to the Afghan people. Let me know if you see something better coming down the pike. In any case it’s got to be better than what the Pentagon has had for them over the past decades.

    And if the Russia-China alliance with Afghanistan plays out, it could be the best prospect on the horizon for real economic development.The only thing I can add is that Western powers could well find a way to object to China’s role and the resulting benefit to Afghanistan. This could be a further destabilizing factor for the New Cold War warriors to throw into the mix. This is especially true in US domestic politics where lunkheads of both the Rep and Dem parties will almost certainly make their plays, following the lead of most current MSM media commentary. Let’s brace ourselves for a campaign to consolidate a “Biden lost Afghanistan” narrative, tho I think that in the current political environment we have have a good chance to make a successful fight against it. Biden’s move here marks a real shift among the foreign policy elite. We’d be foolish to brush it off and fail to recognize the opportunity to understand that something is changing, even if just a little.

    I’m the last person on earth to say a good word for Joe Biden, and here I say it: You done good, Joe Biden. It might have gotten done a little better, but that it’s getting done at all is a remarkable turn of events.

    And again- and again- I ask, What good is in all this mess for the American people?


  2. philebersole Says:

    I hope this is not the beginning of an economic war and a covert war against Afghanistan, as with Iran after the fall of the Shah. We’ll see. Biden deserves credit for what he did, but not if his administration continues to wage war by other means.

    This could be the beginning of better days for the Afghan people, if the Taliban follow the advice of their Russian and Chinese mentors. Life in Afghanistan could become like life in Iran, not a liberal democracy, but not a reign of terror, either. Time will tell.


  3. philebersole Says:

    I don’t claim to be able to predict the future of Afghanistan or any other country. There are a lot of ways things to be wrong, but I don’t predict these will necessarily happen.

    When Mao Zedong’s Communists came to power in China, there was a lot of talk about inclusiveness of all anti-imperialist factions in the new government. Likewise the new Soviet satellite states in eastern Europe after World War Two.

    But once the Communists’ power was entrenched, they cracked down on nonconformists. The same could happen in Afghanistan.

    What the Taliban are doing in the cities is impressive. I have no way of knowing what is going on out in the boondocks.

    Anyhow, that’s one way things could go wrong.

    Recall that once Afghanistan in the 1970s was a normal country, not a theocracy, where everyone got along. But their government was aligned with the USSR. Members of the Carter administration had the bright idea of sponsoring a rebellion by fanatic jihadists who were outraged that women held positions of authority.

    The Soviets set up a puppet government to wage war more effectively, the jihadists won, the country dissolved into chaos, the Taliban restored order, the U.S. invaded and we now know the result.

    The Taliban originally consisted mainly of members of the dominant Pushtoon or Pashtun ethnic group, and their U.S.-backed opponents, the Northern Alliance, consisted of members of minority ethnic groups. There is a possibility that the U.S. government will sponsor another rebellion based on these groups and the whole cycle will begin again.

    That is another way things could go wrong.

    The best case for Afghanistan is that the Taliban leaders, through decades of struggle, will have learned the need to be inclusive of Shiites and non-Pushtoon peoples; that their hard-won wisdom and the mentorship of the Chinese, Russians and Iranians will enable them to make Afghanistan a stable and prosperous nation; and that the U.S. government won’t try to, or won’t succeed in, undermining this whole process.

    I have to admire the Taliban for the courage and wisdom with which they have waged their war. Maybe they will have the same wisdom in peace. I hope so, but I have no way of knowing. Given the follies and crimes of my own government, I do not judge them from a position of moral or intellectual superiority.


  4. philebersole Says:

    Who am I kidding? Myself, I guess

    I don’t know what comes next in Afghanistan and I have no way of knowing. I don’t know what the Taliban have in mind, and I have no way of knowing. I don’t know what is really going on in Afghanistan right now, and I don’t have the knowledge to sift through conflicting sources of information,

    One thing I’m sure of is that I can’t trust the big-circulation newspapers or network news to tell me the truth.

    Another is that the U,S, government doing more of the same would have made things worse, not better.

    Aside from that, who knows?


  5. Tarot of the Missing Says:

    Very interesting read here.


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