China faces threats from Afghan terror outfits despite Taliban's assurances

23-08-2021 Mon 12:53 IST | IANS | Opinion

New Delhi, Aug 23: China, which has made it official that it is willing to recognise the Taliban government in Afghanistan, will be worried after the bomb blast in the Gwadar area in Balochistan. The explosion that left two killed and a few injured was targeted at the Chinese. While the Taliban have promised to protect and support ongoing infrastructure projects, "they cannot be taken at face value" given the current developments. That apart, several other terror groups operate with impunity in Afghanistan.

Many analysts have noted that the withdrawal of the US troops from Afghanistan will give an edge to China, with its huge investments, to dominate the political contours of the region. However, the roadmap for Beijing will not be easy.

Though China, which earlier linked the Taliban with the East Turkestan Islamic Movement -- a Uyghur militant group, has said that it will work with the new Afghanistan government, the presence of other terror outfits will make things difficult for China.

Taliban will have little control over these terror groups and the current political chaos in Afghanistan has widely compromised the security situation in the region.

The Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant-Khorasan (ISIL-K) and Uyghur Eastern Turkestan Islamic Movement (ETIM)-- a Uyghur militant group -- have been expanding their network in the country. Besides, the presence of Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan, Jaish-i-Mohammed and Lashkare-Tayyiba is also a matter of concern for Beijing.

In April, the TTP attacked an upmarket luxury hotel in Quetta, detonating a bomb which left five dead. Reports have stated that the attack was aimed at the Chinese ambassador to Pakistan, though he was not present in the hotel at the time of the explosion.

"No one can say how China will be impacted by the Afghanistan situation. Though China is driven by its interests and it will be ready to work with the Taliban, there are other elements and several other terror organisations operating there that will make Beijing worried," a foreign policy analyst who was in Afghanistan told India Narrative.

For China, the $60 billion China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) has been described by the Diplomat as the "crown jewel of Beijing's massive Belt and Road Initiative." It is critical as it not only connects Eurasia and Africa but more importantly, for China the CPEC will undermine Indian interests.

Anger against the Chinese over the $60 billion China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), part of the much-hyped Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) has been growing. The analyst said that such uncertain situations are "happy breeding grounds" for terror activities.

"Over the years, through military actions in its bordering areas with Afghanistan, the Pakistani Army has pushed the TTP elements out of the country and into Afghanistan. The TTP has been using Afghan soil for operations and support," the Diplomat noted.

The terror outfits would use Afghanistan soil for their activities.

China's foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying recently at a press briefing described the Taliban 2.0 as "more clear-headed and rational" compared to their previous avatar.

By Mahua Venkatesh

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