China’s Charm and Afghanistan’s New Regime
China and Human Rights Researcher
Global Human Rights Defence
The last few days have demonstrated a new flurry in Chinese Diplomatic activities, both in the pacific and in the middle east. Concretely, China’s chief diplomat, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi arrived in Kabul unannounced, signaling a new start to sino-afghan relations, since the Taliban took over the country last year. The talks held in Kabul surrounded the issue of the ongoing humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan and potential measures and ways through which the Chinese state could support the new regime. One of these new measures has been the embracing of the new regime as a means of gaining access to Afghanistan's natural resources and as a new corridor for their Belt and Road Initiative. The Metallurgical of China Ltd, has been a key point in these discussions that seek “to discuss the possibility of restarting operations at Afghanistan’s largest copper mine Mes Aynak in Logar province” (Najafizada, 2022). Thereby signaling China’s renewed interest in the region, and the increasingly geo-economically strategic role of controlling mineral resources in becoming.
On the other hand, as China seeks to influence Afghanistan and gain access to its mineral resources, the Taliban regime seems to hope that engaging with the Chinese regime will become a means to receive international recognition. Furthermore, the loss of around 40% of agricultural production in the state due to conflict and recent droughts alongside the statement by the former President Ashraf Ghani that 90% of the population was surviving on a daily income of below $2 presents the region as economically fragile (Haddad, 2021). In terms of Human rights issues, this emerging relationship does not inspire confidence in the long-term, as the promises that the Taliban made early in their resurgence to recognize and protect these rights have been systematically eroded. A reality that as the new regime seeks to build economic stability and rebuild the stability of the state, will not see the prioritization of human or gender rights.
Sources and further reading:
Haddad, M. (2021, August 30). Infographic: Afghanistan's humanitarian crisis. Infographic
News | Al Jazeera. Retrieved October 20, 2021, from https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2021/8/30/infographic-afghanistans-humanitarian-crisis-interactive.
Najafizada, E. (2022, March 24). China’s Foreign Minister Wang Yi Meets Taliban Leaders in Kabul. Bloomberg.com. Retrieved March 25, 2022, from https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2022-03-24/china-s-foreign-minister-wang-yi-meets-taliban-leaders-in-kabul