With the US now withdrawing from the war-torn state, sources have claimed China could now seize upon the “strategic opportunity”. China could exploit the “vacuum” in the country, sources have claimed. Although both US and UK troops have fought against the Taliban, one expert has warned China may well bring the terrorist group “on board”.
Any increased presence in the country will be a part of China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), which aims to secure influence across the world by building infrastructure in multiple countries.
With the US leaving the state, plans could now be accelerated for extending a major road from Northwestern Pakistan to Afghanistan as part of Xi’s power-grab.
Michael Kugelman, an expert in South Asian affairs, told The Daily Beast: “Washington’s departure from Afghanistan gives Beijing a strategic opportunity.”
Mr Kugelman added: “If the Taliban is okay with China building out infrastructure and other projects in Afghanistan, Beijing will be in a much better place.
“China could well bring the Taliban on board with BRI.
“The insurgents have said they will support development projects if they serve Afghan national interests.”
After coming into the White House, Mr Biden set September 11 as the time for US troops to complete their withdrawal.
This came under a deal with the Taliban, Nato and the US and could influence China’s strategic plans for the region.
Xi hopes to complete the overall plan by 2049 and has offered vast loans to states who want to participate in the project to build improved infrastructure.
One source also told the website: “There has been continuous engagement between the Afghan government and the Chinese for the past few years but that made the U.S. suspicious of president Ashraf Ghani government.
“The Chinese have very carefully cultivated many political leaders to buy political support for the projects in Afghanistan at the same time.
“The Chinese government can ill afford to see Afghanistan not webbed through the BRI.”
Although the potential in Afghanistan could be a target for China, Mr Kugelman claimed the political climate in the state still remains uncertain.
Last Thursday, Beijing celebrated the 100th anniversary of the creation of the Chinese Communist Party.
In a threat to the West, Xi claimed any state which attempts to stop socialism in China will be defeated.
In his speech, Xi said: “We will never allow anyone to bully, oppress or subjugate China.
“Anyone who dares try to do that will have their heads bashed bloody against the Great Wall of Steel forged by over 1.4 billion Chinese people.”