Taliban to Join China's Belt and Road Forum

    Photo: Government of the Philippines [via Wikimedia Commons]

    The Facts

    • Taliban-appointed spokesman for the Ministry of Commerce and Industry, Akhundzada Abdul Salam Jawad, told Reuters on Saturday that the acting minister, Haji Nooruddin Azizi, will travel to Beijing next week to attend China's Belt and Road Forum.

    • While Taliban officials and ministers have traveled to some regional meetings, particularly those focused on Afghanistan, the Belt and Road Forum is among the highest-profile summits in which they have been invited to participate.

    The Spin

    Anti-China narrative

    The Taliban's infamy hasn't stopped China from deepening ties with Kabul to create trouble for India and the US in order to expand its global influence and become the world's only superpower. Beijing has captured the Taliban by attracting the unrecognized government to the Belt and Road debt trap, positioning itself in a privileged place to exploit Afghanistan's mineral wealth.

    Pro-China narrative

    Despite years of occupation and billions of dollars allocated to their own forces and contractors, the US and its allies have clamorously failed the Afghan people. Now, the Chinese engagement with Afghanistan has brought hope for positive change because Beijing can help develop the country's power generation, agriculture, healthcare, education, and mining sector.

    Nerd narrative

    There's an 80% chance that China will recognize the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan before 2030, according to the Metaculus prediction community.

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