Washington/Kabul: Chinese movements to increase its influence in Afghanistan have gained momentum, taking advantage of the fact that the United States is withdrawing its military from that country. A US website claimed that China is taking help from Pakistan for this purpose. The increasing Indian influence has become a cause for a headache for both these countries. The US website reported that therefore, there are indications that China and Pakistan are trying to destabilise Afghanistan.
The US military, since the past two decades, has undertaken a counter-terrorism campaign against Al Qaeda and Taliban. A peace deal was signed on 29th of February between the United States and Taliban and as per the deal, the United States will be withdrawing its military from Afghanistan. The United States has already withdrawn 4,500 soldiers over the last six months and has shut five military bases. President Trump has indicated that the US military strength in Afghanistan will be brought down to 5,000 soldiers in the next few months. The report by the website expresses concern that China will increase its influence in Afghanistan if the United States withdrew its military completely from Afghanistan.
China has started taking assistance from Pakistan for this purpose. China and Pakistan have signed an Intelligence Sharing deal and through this medium, China is expanding its interests in Afghanistan. It has also been exposed that Pakistan is passing on confidential information regarding Afghan security to China. In exchange, senior officials from the Pakistan military, will be allowed to attend the high-level security related meeting, in China, as an observer. Pakistan officials being invited for this confidential meeting, being presided over by Chinese, becomes significant.
Pakistan is assisting the terrorist organisations in Afghanistan. Pakistan has close links with Al Qaeda and Taliban. This has strained the relations between the United States and Pakistan. The US website report claims that China is worried about its interests in Afghanistan, in view of the US military deployment and terrorist attacks.
China has invested billions of dollars in Afghan mining projects. Therefore, China is keen on increasing its influence in Afghanistan. It is taking help from Pakistan in the matter. China is trying to get Afghanistan to join its ambitious ‘Belt and Road Initiative’ (BRI). Through this China wants to reduce the Indian influence in South Asia. The report of the US website claimed that therefore, China is trying to strengthen its foothold in Afghanistan.
Pakistan leadership is helping China even in the Uyghur issue. There are indications that China has obtained an assurance from the Taliban, through Pakistan, that Taliban will not help the Uyghurs. Vikram Singh, a former official in the US defence department, claimed that the increasing opposition and disputes with India, is the foundation of the rising China-Pakistan cooperation.
Meanwhile, Pakistan is making desperate efforts to sabotage the peace deal signed between the United States and Taliban and the peace talks between Afghanistan government and Taliban. Moreover, a European think-tank has accused Pakistan of having a hand in the increasing violence in Afghanistan. The thinktanks also said that Pakistan believes that the Indian influence in Afghanistan will be over, once a Taliban government takes over Afghanistan. Now there are indications that Pakistan is vying to reduce the Indian influence in Afghanistan with the help of China.