Taliban to join China-Pakistan Economic Corridor project
After taking complete control over Afghanistan, the Taliban has expressed that the group desires to join the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC). CPEC is a part of Chinas most ambitious project Belt and Road Initiative, aimed at renewing the countrys historic trade routes in the coastal countries of south-east Asia.
The 60 billion CPEC project will mean that unrests in Afghanistan could provide a hotbed for terrorists targeting China’s Xinjiang and its interests overseas including the CPEC projects. Political and regional instability has already hampered the CPEC project in Pakistan on numerous occasions.
In August, a bus blast in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province left 9 Chinese citizens working on the Dasu Hydropower Project dead. China had temporarily halted all work on the project after the incident. For Pakistan, the project is expected to bring in massive investment from China, creating thousands of job opportunities. PM Imran Khan has repeatedly assured that the timely completion of CPEC projects is a top priority for the Pakistan government.
Although, Taliban’s interest in joining hands with China and Pakistan does not come as a major surprise. Several reports of the group’s collusion with Pakistan have emerged since its takeover of Afghanistan. Especially now in recent past, the visit of Pakistan’s ISI chief Faiz Hameed to Kabul drew ire since it was followed by a massive military offensive in Panjshir Valley. However, several Pakistani officials have met the Taliban, China also became one of the first countries to interact with a Taliban delegation.