As the United States prepares to withdraw from Afghanistan, China is preparing to go in and fill the void left by the departing US and NATO troops, The Daily Beast reported.
With its Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), China is poised to make an exclusive entry into post-US Afghanistan. According to reports, Kabul authorities are intensifying their engagement with China on an extension of the $62 billion China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), the BRI’s flagship project.
According to international media, the project involves the construction of highways, railways, and energy pipelines between Pakistan and China—to Afghanistan.
American troops left Afghanistan’s main and final US military base on Friday, and while the initial withdrawal date was set for September 11, security officials told a British newspaper that the majority of troops would be out by July 4.
One of the specific projects on the table, according to another source privy to conversations between Beijing and Kabul, is the construction of a China-backed major road between Afghanistan and Pakistan’s northwestern city of Peshawar, which is already linked with the CPEC route. “There is a discussion on a Peshawar-Kabul motorway between the authorities in Kabul and Beijing,” the source told The Daily Beast on condition of anonymity. “Linking Kabul with Peshawar by road means Afghanistan’s formal joining of CPEC.”