Report: Taliban Struggling to Stop ISIS from Attacking Chinese Business Projects

An Afghan man rides his bike past a China Merchandise Trade Center in Kabul, Afghanistan.
Musadeq Sadeq/AP

Afghanistan’s Khaama Press on Monday reported that the Taliban junta is having trouble protecting Chinese business interests from attacks by the Islamic State, which seeks to both wrest control of Afghanistan from its rival Islamist extremists and punish China for its oppression of the Uyghur Muslims.

Khaama Press suggested China’s dissatisfaction with the protection provided by the Taliban could jeopardize some big-ticket projects:

Earlier in January, the Chinese company- China Petroleum Economics and Information Research Center (CPEIC) signed the extraction agreement of the Amu oil field with the Taliban-ruled government.

The investment amount on the said project would be more than USD 700 million, with a 20% share of Afghanistan within three years. This deal is a significant investment in Afghanistan’s since retook of power by the current regime in the country.

In December, the terror attack in a Chinese-run hotel resulted in the injury of several Chinese nationals, forcing them to leave the country immediately; it has been said that ISIS-K claimed the attack. Subsequently, the attack on Afghanistan’s Foreign Ministry was thought to be targeting a Chinese delegation was also claimed by the same group.

According to the report, Beijing was especially rattled by the horrific December gun and bomb attack against a hotel in Kabul favored by Chinese businessmen. When the Islamic State operation in Afghanistan, frequently referred to as Islamic State-Khorasan Province or “ISIS-K,” took responsibility for the attack, it said the Chinese hotel guests were its targets.

The Associated Press

A hotel building sits charred after an attack in Kabul, Afghanistan, Tuesday, December 13, 2022. (AP Photo/Siddiqullah Khan)

The day after the attack, Chinese ambassador Wang Yu publicly scolded the Taliban for failing to protect the hotel. The Chinese Foreign Ministry lodged a “serious representation” with the Taliban, which it refers to as the “Afghan interim government.”

The Associated Press

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi. (AP Photo/Mark Schiefelbein, File)

China has not extended official recognition to the Taliban regime, but it is very interested in doing business with the conquerors of Kabul, as it hopes to exploit Afghanistan’s natural resources.

Beijing is also eager to keep Afghanistan from being used as a staging ground for terrorist activities in China, especially the Uyghur homeland of East Turkistan, which China calls the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region. Afghanistan lies along the western border of the region.

Khaama Press cited Taliban officials promising to meet the “challenge” of protecting China’s investments and citizens in Afghanistan.

The Taliban claimed in early January that its “special forces” raided ISIS hideouts across Afghanistan and killed 11 ISIS operatives, including “foreign” militants. A “large quantity” of weapons and explosives were purportedly seized in the raids.

In addition to placating their nervous Chinese business partners, the Taliban is encountering tense relations with neighboring Pakistan due to increasingly numerous and bloody attacks by the “Pakistani Taliban,” Tehreek-e-Taliban or TTP. 

Pakistan accuses the Taliban of allowing TTP to operate from safe havens in Afghanistan while conducting attacks such as the bloody mosque bombing in Peshawar on Monday, an attack that killed at least 32 people.


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