The Taliban announces a partnership with China

If you thought that the Afghanistan situation couldn’t get any worse, think again.

The Telegraph reports that the Taliban has declared China its chief ally. 

“China will be our main partner and represents a great opportunity for us because it is ready to invest in our country and support reconstruction efforts,” Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said.

We saw this one coming

If you have been keeping tabs on China over the past couple of months, then it is likely that you saw this coming long in advance. There have been reports that as early as July, way before the Taliban seized control of Afghanistan, China was already holding talks with the Taliban.

Since the Taliban took over, China was one of the first countries to recognize its leadership of Afghanistan. China has even promised, unlike most countries, to keep its Kabul embassy open.

The main thing that China appears to want from Afghanistan is its rare earth elements. And, in return, the Taliban believes that China will help to develop Afghanistan and that China will help get the Taliban into international markets.

“We possess rich copper mines and that will be further modernized with the Chinese assistance,” Mujahid said in his statement. “At the same time we can finally say that China represents our ticket to the International markets.”

What leverage?

This relationship between China and the Taliban is problematic for several reasons, from the viewpoint of the United States. But, at the moment, the main reason it is problematic is that Americans remain stranded in Afghanistan.

President Joe Biden has claimed that he and his administration will be able to get these Americans out of Afghanistan because the U.S. has leverage over the Taliban. But, with the Taliban teaming up with China, that claim has come into question. And, one of the congressmen who has publicly questioned Biden’s leverage claim is Rep. Mike Gallagher (R-WI).

“We don’t have leverage,” Gallagher said. “Their entire theory of the case [is] that we have leverage because the Taliban want recognition, they want humanitarian assistance. But the Chinese are going to provide them with whatever cash they need.”

Gallagher continued: “And, leverage comes from victory on the ground, and they have it. We don’t. We surrendered to them. And now, they have the leverage that comes from hundreds of Americans potentially being taken hostage by the Taliban and sold to al-Qaeda or sold to some other country. We have no leverage.”

The Biden administration has yet to explain why the viewpoint taken by Gallagher is wrong.

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