China is “the real winner” of the foreign policy “disaster” currently unfolding in Afghanistan after the Taliban terror group seized full control of the country earlier this week, China’s state-run Global Times argued on Thursday.
“The real winner of this disaster is China,” Michele Geraci, the current Undersecretary of State for Italy’s Ministry of Economic Development, posited in an editorial published by the Global Times on August 19. Geraci, considered an expert in Chinese economics and also as a columnist for the Beijing-based financial news site Caixin, said the West had perpetrated a “betrayal” against Afghan citizens by allowing Afghanistan to fall to the Taliban after supporting the country in practically all aspects for nearly 20 years.
America launched an invasion of Afghanistan in autumn 2001, ousting the Taliban from the country’s government and replacing it with a U.S.-backed administration. The Afghan War, which began in response to jihadist terror attacks on U.S. soil in September 2001, was drawing to a close on August 15 when the Taliban captured Kabul, the Afghan national capital, and ousted the city’s U.S.-backed government. Most observers expected the Taliban to eventually invade Kabul after the U.S. and NATO-allied forces completely withdrew their troops from the country by August 31. The terror group instead successfully sacked Kabul in less than ten days before the Western troop drawdown was complete.
“In a few hours, the West has not only lost Afghanistan, which it had never owned, but has thrown away years, decades, centuries of moral standing, defender of the rights of the weak, of human rights, of women’s rights, of a democracy promoter [sic],” Geraci claimed in his August 19 op-ed.
However, the betrayal that the West perpetrated against Afghan citizens, who are the ones who will pay the price for the West’s political choices, cracks, in fact, destroys even the last ethical bulwark that the West boasted about: being the champions of international justice and protector of the oppressed of the world [sic].
China shares a nearly 60-mile-long border with Afghanistan and has closely monitored its deteriorating security situation in recent months as the Taliban waged a military offensive to retake control of the country. Beijing expressed hope to establish an economic relationship with the Taliban on Monday when China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs offered to help fund “reconstruction” and infrastructure “development” projects in the country moving forward.
“The Taliban have repeatedly expressed their hope to develop good relations with China, and that they look forward to China’s participation in the reconstruction and development of Afghanistan,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying told reporters on August 16.
“We welcome this. China respects the right of the Afghan people to independently determine their own destiny and is willing to continue to develop … friendly and cooperative relations with Afghanistan,” she added.
The proposal made by Hua on Monday calls to mind China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), which sees Beijing fund infrastructure projects in developing nations as a means of extending its political influence worldwide.
The Taliban welcomed Beijing’s offer to help “rebuild” Afghanistan in statements to Chinese state media on August 19.
“China is a big country with a huge economy and capacity — I think they can play a very big role in the rebuilding, rehabilitation, reconstruction of Afghanistan,” Taliban spokesman Suhail Shaheen told China Global Television Network (CGTN) on Thursday.