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September 29, 2018 | China rebuts US allegations
| Russian missiles challenge
September 28, 2018 | Iran defies America
| Britain and the EU
Beijing and Kabul have long been examining the idea of a military base on Afghanistan’s border with China.
“We are going to build it and the Chinese government has committed to help the division financially, provide equipment and train the Afghan soldiers,” an Afghan Ministry of Defense said.
The military base is to be built in the Wakhan Corridor, a narrow strip adjoining China and separating Tajikistan from Pakistan.
Beijing’s says its strategic priority is to prevent Uyghur fighters of the East Turkestan Islamic Movement (ETIM), in Afghanistan from crossing to conduct operations in China’s Xinjiang province. There is also fear of DAESH doing the same.
In 2017, DAESH released a video announcing its presence in Afghanistan, with the terror group’s Uyghur jihadis vowing to “shed blood like rivers” in Xinjiang.
At the heart of the matter is China’s Belt and Road Initiative, or the New Silk Road, which is to connect China with Asia, Africa, the Middle East and Europe.
For Beijing, its $57 billion China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), is seriously compromised if terror threats are sounded in Central and South Asia.
China and Russia are on the same page. They have been discussed at every meeting of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), of which Afghanistan is a future full member.
BRICS members, Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa and India are in favor of talking to the Taliban and they are reported to have held several meetings on the subject.
China is also an active member of the Quadrilateral Coordination Group (QCG) to promote a peace deal between Kabul and the Taliban.
For China, Afghanistan must be integrated with the CPEC and Beijing is banking on Pakistan to bring the Taliban to the peace table.
The Chinese Foreign Minister, Wang Yi, had earlier announced that Beijing and Islamabad would then work to extend the CPEC to Kabul.
That would neatly fall into place with a Chinese military base Gwadar, the Arabian Sea port in Pakistan.
But, the United States has other plans. It has upped the stakes with the promise of a larger American military presence in Afghanistan for the ‘Great Game’ to play on.