Following the US official withdrawal from Afghanistan, 20 years after moving in for war, the Taliban look set to regain control of the region as their greatest adversary departs.
However, they look set to gain support from one of the greatest threats to the US and the west; China.
The Chinese State are currently dodging accusations of interning over 1 million Uighur Muslims, whilst the Taliban are one of the longest standing, strictest Islamist groups in the Middle East.
Looks that old saying may be true after all; the enemy of my enemy is my friend, as the Taliban set their sights on taking down the capital of Afghanistan, Kabul, confirming their resurgence.
The best for both parties?
It has already been confirmed that numerous Afghan security forces have lost control of various cities in the country, with the Islamist group already plotting to take down the capital.
A spokesperson for the group stated to the South China Morning Post that China would be a “welcome friend” as they start to make grounds in the region, stating that talks regarding the reconstruction of the country with China should begin “as soon as possible.”
However, an alliance between the Chinese government and the Taliban may not be as far fetched as first thought.
Beijing have invested interests in the development of the region, with Afghanistan rumoured to be a key part of their plans.
In May, a Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman stated that Beijing has already entered discussions with Islamabad and Kabul to contemplate extending the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) to include Afghanistan.
China also aren’t strangers to welcoming the Taliban, having publicly welcomed the Islamist group to the country for peace talks back in 2019.
Meanwhile, the Taliban have stated that they are willing to overlook any “past grievances” committed by China, in reference to their treatment of the Uighur Muslims.
The spokesperson, who made the declaration to the Wall Street Journal, stated that the group are not interested in criticising the Chinese government, as they do not want to “interfere in China’s internal affairs.”
Why the interest?
China’s interest in Middle Eastern affairs is no secret, with the chairman of the Pakistan-China Institute, Pakistani senator Mushahid Hussain, claiming that the Taliban are “more pragmatic” than before, stating that the group view China as a “credible stakeholder” in the country.
Beijing feels the same, having heavily invested in the region through their Belt and Road trade and infrastructure scheme.
So, any deterioration in the situation in Afghanistan will greatly concern the Chinese government.
As of yet, the Chinese government have not publicly replied to the suggestions made by the Taliban.
However, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi is currently touring the region, having already made visits to Turkmenistan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan.
Yi is expected to discuss the issue of Afghanistan with his colleagues throughout his trips.
The relationship between the Chinese government and the Taliban is still in its early stages, but this space should definitely be monitored in the coming months, as the Islamist group continues to make gains in the country.