The Chinese Foreign Ministry celebrated the two-year anniversary of the Taliban conquering Afghanistan on Tuesday, praising the terrorist group’s takeover as “a history achievement” and crediting the Taliban for “fighting corruption” and “improving people’s livelihoods.”
The Taliban stormed into Kabul, the capital of Afghanistan, on August 15, 2021, after launching a national campaign to oust the government of then-President Ashraf Ghani. The Taliban had originally agreed to a deal with the government of former American President Donald Trump to not attack American assets or maintain ties to other terrorist organizations such as al-Qaeda if U.S. troops withdrew from the country by May 1, 2021, but current President Joe Biden violated the deadline and extended the 20-year Afghan war into August, prompting the Taliban to attack.
The Taliban conquered Kabul bloodlessly, as Ghani immediately got on a helicopter out of the country and has yet to return at press time.
Taliban leaders celebrated the anniversary on Tuesday with mass events bringing together the terrorists for poetry, jihad speeches, and other celebrations. While the group canceled a previously scheduled parade in Kandahar, crowds of men supporting the jihadists stormed most major cities, chanting “death to Westerners” and taking over sites that were once occupied by American officials.
While no government has officially recognized the Taliban terrorist organization as the formal government of Afghanistan in two years, many have identified the uncontested rulers of the country as an “interim” or “caretaker” government. The Chinese Communist Party was among the first to do so and celebrated the Taliban’s return to power almost immediately after it occurred, lauding the “sunny day in Kabul” through its government propaganda outlets.
The Chinese Foreign Ministry shared the same positive outlook towards the radical Islamist terror group in remarks during its regular briefing on Tuesday.
“Two years on, with the active support of Afghanistan’s neighbors and other countries in the region, the transition in Afghanistan has been generally stable, and the future of the nation is back in the hands of its people — a historic achievement,” spokesman Wang Wenbin told reporters. “The interim government [the Taliban] has taken a number of practical measures in recovering its economy, improving people’s livelihood, prohibiting narcotics, fighting corruption and safeguarding security.”
Wang described the Taliban’s return to power as “a military, political, and counter-terrorism failure of the U.S. in Afghanistan,” though he did not describe the Taliban as a terrorist group. He also condemned the United States for allegedly letting Afghan civilians suffer by cutting off the aid once offered to Ghani’s government.
“Over the past two years, a certain country [America] has cut off aid, frozen Afghanistan’s assets and imposed sanctions, worsening the suffering of the Afghan people,” Wang said. “According to data from the UN, the number of Afghan people in dire need of humanitarian aid has doubled from 14.4 million to 29.2 million. To achieve lasting security, Afghanistan must first and foremost address the worrying humanitarian situation.”
“Relevant country needs to learn from what happened in Afghanistan, deliver on the promise of aid to the country, and ensure all frozen assets of Afghanistan will be used as soon as possible to address the urgent livelihood needs of its people,” the spokesman scolded.
In reality, while freezing some Afghan government assets, a report published last week by the office of the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR) found that America is the “largest donor to the Afghan people, having appropriated more than $2.35 billion since the Taliban takeover in August 2021.” Washington is “also the single largest donor to the United Nations’ humanitarian response in Afghanistan.” SIGAR found that the United Nations was doing little to ensure its humanitarian aid reached the people who needed it, allowing the Taliban to divert large amounts of funding and take credit for helping the population.
“[I]t is no longer a question of whether the Taliban are diverting assistance from our programs to help the Afghan people, but rather how much they are diverting,” SIGAR John Sopko wrote in the introductory letter to this quarter’s report. “[M]y staff and I find the degree of interference and the apparent inability of the UN to protect its programs deeply troubling.”
Beyond condemning Washington for allegedly offering insufficient aid to Afghanistan, Wang claimed that China was a significant benefactor to the country.
“Over the past two years, the Chinese people have cared for the livelihood, safety and future of the Afghan people,” Wang claimed, boasting of importing pine nuts and allegedly helping “Afghanistan improve its capacity for self-driven development.”
While nowhere near as prolific a spender in Afghanistan as America, the Chinese Communist Party has focused much of its efforts in the region in the past two years on strengthening business ties with the Taliban terrorists. Chinese state media declared China “the real winner” of the fall of Kabul in its immediate aftermath and loudly expressed interest in Afghanistan’s mineral wealth, including potentially as much as $3 trillion in unexploited rare-earth minerals. The Taliban rapidly welcomed Chinese businessmen to the country and began announcing deals to construct factories and handle joint infrastructure projects.
“We have been to China many times and we have good relations with them,” Suhail Shaheen, a Taliban spokesman now representing the terrorists at the United Nations, said in July 2021, shortly before taking over the country. “China is a friendly country that we welcome for reconstruction and developing Afghanistan.”
In May, the Taliban formally joined the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), a Chinese scheme in which Beijing offers predatory loans to poor countries it then uses to erode the sovereignty of those nations. The BRI loans are meant to be used to pay China to build infrastructure projects the countries could otherwise not afford, but a large number of those projects have not come to fruition in many BRI target states.
On Monday, a senior official at the Taliban “Ministry of the Interior” met with representatives of the Chinese telecommunications Huawei, reportedly to discuss the construction of a pervasive security apparatus in the country to allow the Taliban to more efficiently repress citizens.
“We plan to activate the advanced camera system in every province of Afghanistan,” “Deputy Interior Minister” Abdullah Mukhtar reportedly said during the meeting.
A significant obstacle to Chinese-Taliban operations is the growing body of terrorist activity against China’s presence in the country, largely at the hand of the Islamic State-Khorasan Province, the local affiliate. In December, ISIS took responsibility for terrorists storming a hotel in Kabul known locally as the “Chinese hotel” for hosting businessmen from the country, killing three and injuring 21 people. Chinese officials have pressured the Taliban to do more to stop radical Islamist terrorism against their people.
In January, now-missing former Chinese Foreign Minister Qin Gang called his Taliban counterpart demanding that the group ensure “the safety of Chinese personnel, institutions and projects in Afghanistan.”