Now that the Taliban has regained control over Afghanistan, plenty of uncertainty remains for those living in that country and throughout the region.
As communist China makes friendly overtures toward its new neighbors, the fate of its Uyghur Muslim population could be placed in further jeopardy.
According to Breitbart, one human rights group is warning that Taliban leaders are expected to cooperate with China’s genocide of the Muslim minority group.
“Harassment, detention, and deportation”
The Uyghur Human Rights Project and Oxus Society for Central Asian Affairs warned that Uyghurs living in Afghanistan could face “increased persecution and even extradition to China” as a result of the recent regime change.
Released prior to the Taliban coup, the report condemned Pakistan and the now-toppled Afghan government as “client states” effectively bought off by Beijing.
In recent decades, there have been at least 21 cases involving Uyghurs detained and deported from Afghanistan and Pakistan, the report concluded. Members of the ethnic minority — including some Afghan citizens — were registered as “Chinese migrants” on official documents, leading to fears that such information will fall into the hands of Chinese leaders.
“At the behest of the Chinese authorities, Islamabad [Pakistan] and Kabul are engaged in the harassment, detention, and deportation of vulnerable Uyghurs,” UHRP Executive Director Omer Kanat declared, as Breitbart reported.
Kanat added that China’s campaign of “transnational repression” has resulted in Uyghurs being “tortured and executed in China, while others have experienced the breakup of their families and heavy-handed surveillance of their communities.”
The withdrawal of U.S. troops could give China an opportunity to amass even more influence over Afghanistan by investing in the war-torn nation’s infrastructure. According to the report, China used a similar tactic in Pakistan to induce cooperation with its anti-Uyghur policies.
Along with Russia, China is one of a handful of nations approaching the newly installed Taliban regime with diplomacy. In return, Taliban leaders have spoken warmly of Beijing.
“The Taliban have repeatedly expressed their hope to develop good relations with China, and that they look forward to China’s participation in the reconstruction and development of Afghanistan,” China’s foreign ministry said in a statement last month, according to France24.
There are also concerns that the predominantly Pashtun members of the Taliban will persecute other ethnic minorities in Afghanistan, such as the Hazara people. Such uneasiness about the future of the region only adds to the growing backlash against the Biden administration’s botched handling of the troop withdrawal.