China, through its official Foreign Ministry and propaganda arms, celebrated the anniversary of the Taliban jihadist organization seizing power on Monday by repeatedly condemning America for its “failures” in the country and praising the Taliban for its “advanced” governance and improved “security.”
The Chinese Communist Party has emerged in the past year as one of the Taliban’s most loyal foreign allies. Taliban spokesmen immediately expressed in public a desire to see the Communist Party invest in Afghanistan and for them to join Beijing’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), a global debt trap scheme in which China offers predatory loans to poor countries meant to be used to build infrastructure.
“China, our great neighboring country, can have a constructive and positive role in the reconstruction of Afghanistan and also in the economic development and prosperity of the people of Afghanistan,” Taliban spokesman and current United Nations envoy Suhail Shaheen said in an interview shortly after the fall of Kabul. “It is expected [that] China [will] play its role.”
Chinese officials and state media have, in turn, openly expressed a desire to exploit Afghan natural resources, most prominently its vast mineral wealth, with an anti-American Taliban government in power. China also announced plans to build a 150-factory industrial park in Kabul in May.
China is one of a small number of states that have accepted the Taliban as the official “interim” or “caretaker” government of Afghanistan. Most of the world has not acknowledged the Taliban but does not consider deposed former President Ashraf Ghani the head of government in Kabul, either, maintaining an ambiguous stance.
After 20 years waging war against the U.S. government – which entered the Afghan war theater following the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks by al-Qaeda – the Taliban returned to power on August 15, 2021. Ghani fled the country on a helicopter, allowing Taliban terrorists to enter and take over Kabul with minimal resistance. Taliban leaders had abstained from attempting to overthrow Ghani’s government in earnest following the development of an agreement between them and the government of former President Donald Trump, but returned to full jihad after leftist President Joe Biden announced in April 2021 that he would violate the agreement for U.S. troops to leave on May 1 of that year.
A year ago, the Chinese government-run Global Times propaganda outlet described the Taliban’s return to power as “a sunny day in Kabul.” On Monday, the Global Times acknowledged that “challenges remain” for the Taliban but offered an overall positive assessment of the terrorist organization’s stranglehold on power.
One year on, Afghans are experiencing better security under Taliban rule but challenges in economic and social governance remain. Experts call for US to shoulder responsibility of the chaos it left and unfreeze Afghan assets. https://t.co/G4ZiLluCOo pic.twitter.com/OikCBNI9IZ
— Global Times (@globaltimesnews) August 15, 2022
“Several interviewees pointed out to the Global Times that the Taliban’s administrative capabilities are comparatively more advanced, but the ‘tribal culture’ still holds great sway in their governing style,” the state newspaper claimed. “They said the security situation in the country has improved since Taliban took power.”
The Global Times praised the Taliban for an “overall significant reduction in armed violence,” citing United Nations statistics from July. It also interviewed an alleged Chinese businessman in the country who praised the Taliban for offering help to merchants and encouraged them to attempt to build their businesses, theoretically profiting both the Taliban and Afghan civilians.
“After the Taliban entered Kabul, we were closed for a week. Like everybody else, we were closely watching the Taliban’s attitude toward citizens, the former government, and foreigners,” the merchant, identified as Yu Minghui, was quoted as saying. “Four days after they occupied the city, a newly appointed Taliban police chief approached us and told us not to worry and asked if we needed help.”
The newspaper also outrageously claimed that the Taliban had improved health care in the country and had taken “a more flexible approach” with treatment of foreign women, though it acknowledged the extreme repression of Afghan women.
To the extent that Taliban rule has stumbled, the Global Times blamed uncontrollable outside forces, such as America and global financial institutions, for their failures.
“On the economic and social level, Afghanistan under the Taliban’s rule presents a more worrying scene: A shortage of foreign exchange reserves, inflation, increasing poverty, and unemployment,” the Chinese outlet noted, blaming U.S. sanctions on the terrorist group and boasting that “China has provided $8 million worth of assistance to families affected by the recent earthquake in Afghanistan.”
The Global Times also published a bizarre political cartoon depicting Uncle Sam fishing for cash in Afghanistan.
— Valiant Panda (@_ValiantPanda_) August 15, 2022
The Chinese Foreign Ministry, commenting on the anniversary during its regular briefing on Monday, did not praise the Taliban, spending the vast majority of its time on Afghanistan condemning the United States. Spokesman Wang Wenbin declared that the Taliban’s return to power proved that helping countries transition to democracies with full respect for human rights was a doomed venture.
“The ‘Kabul moment’ marks the failure of the ‘democratic transformation’ imposed by the US,” Wang said, according to the transcript of Monday’s briefing. “A country’s path to democracy can only be explored by that country’s own population independently in light of their national conditions. The path to democracy varies from country to country, and will not work if it is imposed from the outside. Forcing the US-style democracy on a country has invariably led to dysfunction and failure of its implementation.”
“The so-called ‘leader of the West’ left its reputation in tatters when it decided to ditching [sic] its allies in the hurried retreat,” Wang declared, accusing America of “sowing discord and stoking confrontation for the sake of its own geopolitical objectives.”
Wang concluded by demanding that Washington fund the Taliban’s success. He did not acknowledge the Taliban’s decades of investment in jihadist terrorism or the recent revelation that the head of al-Qaeda, Ayman al-Zawahiri, was living unperturbed in the wealthiest neighborhood of Kabul before a U.S. airstrike eliminated him.
China had recently condemned the airstrike against Zawahiri, claiming it to be a violation of the Taliban’s “sovereignty.”