On the eve of the withdrawal of the last American soldier from Afghanistan; for the first time, the Emir of the Taliban movement, Mullah Hebatullah Akhundzada, appeared in Kandahar with the leaders of the movement, to discuss and approve the announcement of the new government.
The new cabinet is expected to include all members of the movement’s current Shura Council. Certainly, this is not a coincidence or a paradox, but it is a clear announcement of the Taliban’s absolute control over Afghanistan.
Undoubtedly, the return of the Taliban movement in this brutal manner may appear superficially in the interest of the United States, which is accused of seeking to empower the Taliban movement. This is especially since the main goal of the withdrawal of US forces from Afghanistan is to intensify US efforts to confront Russia and China. Therefore, empowering and supporting the Taliban strongly serves this goal, as the Taliban may represent an imminent threat to the security of these countries, especially China, because it is a religious extremist movement that believes in possessing the absolute truth and believes that Russia and China are countries that cannot be friendly in any way according to the doctrinal differences. This is in addition to the issue of Uyghur Muslims, which may constitute a stumbling block in the way of relations between China and the Taliban. Those were the estimates that the Biden administration relied on to decide to withdraw from Afghanistan and leave it easy prey for the Taliban movement.
However, in stark contrast to US estimates, as soon as the withdrawal of US forces from Afghanistan began, the Taliban started to intensify its diplomatic efforts to elicit international recognition to realize its hope of re-establishing power. Surprisingly, the Taliban movement started in China specifically, where a high-ranking delegation of Taliban leaders visited China to confirm that the movement would not allow Afghanistan to be used as a base to launch attacks targeting the security of other countries. Chinese officials, in turn, pledged not to interfere in Afghan affairs, but rather to help solve problems and establish peace. For its part, Beijing confirmed the content of these talks, which were chaired by Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi.
As for the Uyghur Muslim crisis, observers believe that China’s grants to Afghanistan and granting a kind of legitimacy to the Taliban’s rule is more important to the latter than any feelings of solidarity with the Uyghurs. More importantly, the giant Belt and Road project that China is implementing has given it a pressure card that has a great impact on the countries through which this project passes, and the Uyghurs may be sacrificed for the sake of economic interests.
This is especially as the Taliban hope to obtain much-needed economic benefits and investments from China, and the Uighurs in Afghanistan could end up becoming a bargaining chip. These fears are not limited to observers only, but many Uighur Muslim leaders in Afghanistan are already afraid that the Taliban may help The Chinese to restrict their movements or arrest them and hand them over to China.
However, away from any future predictions, indicators of compatibility between China and the Taliban movement have already begun to emerge as China has expressed its desire to enhance its economic cooperation with the Taliban and increase its investments in the mining sector, whose fortune is estimated at no less than one trillion dollars.
Russia is also classified as a potential economic partner for the Taliban movement after the disappearance of the United States from the scene as Russian companies prepare to invest in the infrastructure and mining sector. Moscow has already expressed its desire for close cooperation with the movement after it took control of the country and pledged to provide the necessary support to it with its desire to strengthen its presence in Afghanistan and expectations of close cooperation with Beijing in this file in the face of the United States.
On the other hand, one of the most important factors that may encourage the Taliban to cooperate with both Russia and China is that the authority in both countries is coherent as there is no opposition, and the media, in general, is supportive of the policy of the state and government. This is in contrast to the United States of America, where the media can oppose and criticize. This is in addition to the existence of more than one lobby (including the Zionists in the first place), which are capable of changing or directing the foreign policy of the American administration. Besides, there is also a clear division in the legislature and a great ability for Republicans to influence decisions.
Thus, in light of the clear rapprochement between the Taliban movement and both Russia and China, the question that presents itself strongly in the political arena now is: Were the Biden administration’s assessments wrong to that extent and opened a sensitive, difficult, and uncertain battle against both China and Russia in Afghanistan.
Dr. Marwa El-Shinawy: Assistant Professor at International American University for Specialized Studies (IAUS)