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China Global Podcast

China’s Interests and Role in Afghanistan Amid U.S. Withdrawal with Andrew Small

August 03, 2021

After two decades of military involvement in Afghanistan, the United States and NATO are withdrawing their forces, with potential implications for regional security and thus for Chinese interests. Some observers have suggested the U.S. withdrawal will create opportunities for China to fill the void, but in fact, Beijing is worried about the potential negative security and economic impact of the U.S. pull-out. China has several major investments in Afghanistan, including in the Aynak Copper Mine and in the Amu Darya Basin Oil Fields. The Taliban has said it would welcome Chinese investments and reconstruction, but the Taliban’s rapidly growing influence has alarmed the Chinese government. An explosion that killed nine Chinese workers in Pakistan in mid-July, which Beijing has said was a terrorist attack, has further heightened Chinese fears of regional instability.

Bonnie Glaser talks with Andrew Small about China’s interests, strategy, and future role in Afghanistan on this episode of China Global. Andrew is a senior transatlantic fellow with GMF’s Asia Program and author of The China-Pakistan Axis: Asia’s New Geopolitics. His research focuses on U.S.-China relations, Europe-China relations, Chinese policy in South Asia, and broader developments in China's foreign and economic policy.