Having another player in the contemporary Afghan "great game" is a cause for both hope and concern. Beijing has an interest in a stable and secure Afghanistan as it provides a safe environment in which to exploit resources. In the short term, it seems China will free ride on the provision of security by NATO and Kabul. For instance, security for the Aynak mine is provided by the American and Afghan militaries.
This may develop into more direct intervention if China feels its interests cannot be secured; it might also apply pressure on Pakistan to rein in extremist elements in the Afghan-Pakistan border area. This could improve the overall security situation while providing an opportunity for co-operation between Chinese and Western forces. In any case, the security dimension will undoubtedly become more important for China should it invest further in Afghanistan.
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Tuesday, April 21, 2009
This article details China's policy towards, and interests in, Afghanistan. An excerpt: