China and Russia are ready to deepen “friendly and cooperative” relations with Afghanistan, after the Taliban seized control of the country. It is indeed sitting on immeasurable natural resources… The new government can’t stand the West? A Win-Win situation isn’t it?
Why are western countries fighting for Afghanistan (apart from its geo-strategic importance)? Opium? Maybe! But did you know Afghanistan has the world’s largest lithium deposits? And that this mineral is urgently needed for battery production in western countries… As explained in this 2010 NYT’s article:
“The United States has discovered nearly $ 1 trillion in untapped mineral deposits in Afghanistan, far beyond any previously known reserves and enough to fundamentally alter the Afghan economy and perhaps the Afghan war itself, according to senior American government officials.”
The Taliban’s takeover opens a strategic door to China laden with both risk and opportunity.
As reported by France 24, China “is ready to deepen “friendly and cooperative” relations with Afghanistan.”
Maintaining stability after decades of war in its western neighbour will be Beijing’s main consideration, as it seeks to secure its borders and strategic infrastructure investments in neighbouring Pakistan, home to the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor.
For Beijing, a stable and cooperative administration in Kabul would pave the way to expand its Belt and Road Initiative into Afghanistan and through the Central Asian republics.
The Taliban meanwhile may consider China a crucial source of investment and economic support, either directly or via Pakistan.
While many western countries are scrambling to empty their embassies and remove their staff from Afghanistan, Russia is staying put. As if the country has long prepared for the arrival of the Taliban in Kabul.
And it seems they are enjoying the chaos… Russia’s embassy in Kabul reported on Monday that:
“Afghan President Ashraf Ghani had fled the country with four cars and a helicopter full of cash and had to leave some money behind as it would not all fit in.”
“As for the collapse of the (outgoing) regime, it is most eloquently characterised by the way Ghani fled Afghanistan.”
“Four cars were full of money, they tried to stuff another part of the money into a helicopter, but not all of it fit. And some of the money was left lying on the tarmac.”
This money is probably linked to drug!
Like China, Russia wants to protect its interests in Central Asia, where it has several military bases, and is keen to avoid instability and potential terrorism spreading through a region on its doorstep.
A Russian foreign ministry statement Monday said the situation in Kabul “is stabilising” and claimed that the Taliban had started to “restore public order”. LOL!
Russia’s dialogue with the Taliban is the fruit of several years of courting.
“It is not for nothing that we have been establishing contacts with the Taliban movement for the last seven years,” the Kremlin’s Afghanistan envoy, Zamir Kabulov, told the Ekho Moskvy radio station on Monday.
And what about Iran?
Afghanistan is best known for its opium poppy cultivation and the resulting social problems (not much for its lithium deposits)…
The Taliban will not tolerate drug production anymore and it will probably come to an end (or will be highly reduced) within the next few months, like in 2001.
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