China, undoubtedly, is one of the strategically important neighbors of Afghanistan—a country entangled in choas, and struggling to subdue terrorism. So far, Afghanistan, unforutnately, has not clinched any major breakthroug in the war on terror, and the reason is that terrorism was imposed on this country. Second, the war was fought wrongly by the US—the main bellegerent force in the war on terror.
China is gradually increasing its stakes in Afghanistan, but the problem is it is either too meticulous and shies away from taking certain bold decision or it personally still lacks intersts in the country, though, the United States has frequently called on China and India to play a larger role in this country. Russia is ever ready, but perhaps the US is not eager to welcome Moscow.
And when it is looking forward to Beijing, unforutnaltey, it has not made up its mind for a bigger role so far. But for how long Beijing will pursue passive policies? When Afghanistan is slid back into chaos? The rapid expansion of its economy has made China will finally push the country into playing a wider role on interantional stage and it will be from Afghanistan. If it starts this role from anywhere else, certain Chinese issues will remain unaddressed such as the issue of militancy in Xinjiang—an autonomous region in northwest China, which is bordered by Afghanistan and Pakistan.
This is home to many ethnic minority groups, including the Turkic Uyghur people.
The region is least developed and is prone to terrorism. The ancient Silk Road that connects China to Middle East passes through this autonomus regiion. China will have to make it impregnable so that nobody can ignite this region with the match of torrism.
Once the match is alight, it will be troublsome for China to deal with it. It will happen when security situation deteriorate to the point of no return in Afghanistan. When China has the capacity to play an important role why it is not stepping up interests in Afghanistan is a matter which needs research. Perhaps the reason is China doesn’t want to upset Pakistan, as once a Chinese ambassador to Islamabad has said that Pakistan is China’s Israel. As Israel has been protected by the United States, so it means Pakistan will be protected by China.
This is the reason China has not increased its role the way it should have in Afghanistan despite knowing the hazards posed by terrorism. China, of course, has long been concerned on the contagious spready of the extremist agenda and activism from Afghanistan via Central Asia and across its own borders, yet remaing placid is quite strange.
Last week China’s Special Representative, Deng Xijung, told a Pakistani English language newspaper that Beijing was ready to host peace talks. He said that China would host the peace negotiation only if the two sides—Kabul and the Taliban, ask for it. He turned down that China will mediate the talks rather said it can only be a host. He also said they will support Pakistan to continue playing its constructive and crucial role in the Afghan peace process, which clearly means China, so far, has not made up its mind to take up a major role.