Leading Chinese daily expresses fears over Taliban victory thumbnail

Leading Chinese daily expresses fears over Taliban victory

Although the Beijing government has expressed support for the Taliban and shipped humanitarian aid to the country after the August 15 fall of Kabul, a leading Chinese daily has linked the Taliban victory to the potential rise of extremism in the region.

The South China Morning Post has claimed that the Taliban
victory in Afghanistan will embolden extremist elements in the entire South
Asia region, stimulating them to take radical steps against their adversaries.

Rachel Zhang of South China Morning Post approached Chinese experts on regional affairs and international relations to get their views on the situation 20 years after the 9/11 attacks against the United States.

They were also skeptical that China could somehow influence the Taliban to become more moderate or adopt rational policies instead of radical ones.

“The victory of the Taliban is likely to boost the confidence
of extremists,” said Prof Yan Wei of the Institute of Middle Eastern Studies at
Northwest University in China.

Support for Chinese dissidents

“The Taliban successfully coming to power more or less
encourages extremist forces in South Asia and the Middle East, especially given
the fact the Taliban survived and developed under pressure from the US and
other Western nations, and eventually toppled the Afghan regime even before the
US completed its withdrawal,” he said.

The academicians were also worried about the Taliban continuing their previous policy of sheltering extremist elements from neighbouring countries, especially the dissidents in China’s Xinjiang region — a reference to Xinjiang’s Muslim Uighur rebels.

“If the Taliban continues to shelter extremism, it will
definitely stimulate the development of it. Other groups in the region may
imitate the Taliban’s way of development, which was to use religious beliefs to
mobilise marginalised people in rural areas.”

Li Wei, a counterterrorism specialist with the China
Institutes of Contemporary International Relations in Beijing, agreed that the
Taliban’s victory was likely to stimulate extremist forces in the region.

Alarmed over the fact that various extremist and terrorist
outfits had congratulated Taliban over their victory after they seized power in
Afghanistan, he said, “Though the Taliban have committed not to allow
Afghanistan to become a sanctuary for terrorists again, it remains to be seen
to what extent the Taliban are willing to and able to fulfil its commitment.”

Notwithstanding future developments in Afghanistan, Li Wei
said, “The Taliban may be indeed unwilling to allow terrorist groups to use
Afghanistan as a hiding place, as they did when the Taliban came to power in
1996, because if the Taliban want to maintain their regime, economic
development is of vital importance, which must be based on safety and stability
of the country.”

Huang Minxing, a professor of China’s Northwest University, said the current situation was more uncertain than before, when the US and its allies were cracking down on the Taliban and al-Qaeda.

The detailed account by SCMP could be read here.

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