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"Uyghur Turks will determine Afghanistan's foreign policy"

Stating that the United States' (US) departure from Afghanistan brings opportunities and risks for China, Sociologist and International Relations Specialist Dr. Bahlul Aliyev said, “One of the most important concerns of China is the attitude towards the Uighur Turks. This is also an issue that will determine Afghanistan's foreign policy under the Taliban control.”

"Uyghur Turks will determine Afghanistan's foreign policy"

Stating that China has been in negotiation with the Taliban for a long time and that China's contacts with the Taliban in Afghanistan are based on both regional security and economic reasons, Sociologist and International Relations Specialist from Istanbul Gelisim University, Asst. Prof. Bahlul Aliyev said, “It was already clear that the US would leave the region. The fact that the administration would be left to the Taliban had also become a frequently discussed topic in the political backdrops since 2017. China had been in contact with the Taliban through its ally, Pakistan, by applying shuttle diplomacy in 2014. China, which joined the Quadrilateral Coordination Group and the Moscow format in 2015, hosted the negotiations between the Taliban and Afghan officials in Urumqi, the capital of Xinjiang, in the same year. In general, China managed to establish good relations with the Taliban during the meetings held many times between 2014 and 2018. A few hours after the Taliban took over Kabul, the Chinese Foreign Ministry secretary formally announced that China is ready for friendly cooperation with the Taliban and is ready to play a constructive role in restoring war-torn Afghanistan. Thus, China-Afghanistan relations have been moved to the level of realpolitik.”

"CHINA'S PRIORITY IS ECONOMIC EXPANDATION"

Stating that China has no special sympathy for any political actor and that it had close relations with Afghan officials before the Taliban, Dr. Aliyev said, “China's state-owned company Metallurgical Group Corporation has obtained a 30-year operating license for Mes-Aynak deposits, which are rich in copper resources, in the south of Kabul in 2008. In addition, the State Oil Company of China won the contract to operate the oil fields in the north of the country. However, due to the security reasons, it has not been able to start operating until today. Good relations with the Taliban will also bring access to trillions of dollars of underground resources in the region. In addition, it aims to expand the 'One Belt One Road' initiative towards Afghanistan in this way. Within the scope of this project, China made significant investments in Pakistan, Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan. Now it is targeting economic expansion towards Afghanistan with the support of Pakistan.”

“TALIBAN’S ATTITUDE TO UYGUR TURKS IS AMONG CHINA’S PRIORITIES”

Finally, referring to the East Turkestan policy of regional China over Afghanistan, Dr. Bahlul Aliyev concluded his words as follows:

“One of the most important concerns of China is the attitude towards the Uighur Turks. As you know, more than a million Uighurs are being held in prisons, which China refers to as retraining camps under the name of fighting terrorism. The concern that the Turkestan Islamic Party might be organized in this region, with the help of radical Islamist operation dominating Afghanistan, constitutes the primary security issue of the Chinese state. This issue will also determine Afghanistan's foreign policy under the Taliban administration. The Taliban's staying loyal to its ideological stance or conducting a policy in terms of realpolitik will also determine the place of the Taliban, which rules a country on the border of starvation. If China can come to an agreement with the Taliban on this issue, China will provide serious political and economic support to the Taliban.”

Edited date: 14.09.2021
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