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Taliban’s strict religious worries China, despite readiness to engage

Afghanistan in Taliban hands

Chinese state-owned enterprises (SOEs) and private firms are gearing up to boost investments in the war-torn Afghanistan. According to a report published by Global Times, “the boldness of risk-taking private firms also underscores China's successful diplomacy with the Taliban, which lays the foundation for the safe and smooth operation of Chinese businesses in Afghanistan.

However, even as China showed its readiness to engage with Taliban 2.0, concerns over the latter’s religiosity remain high. On Saturday, the Chinese embassy issued a warning to the Chinese to adhere to the Islamic habits and dress code.

In another report, GT, China’s official mouthpiece said that though the Taliban 2.0 will be far different from its previous avatar and has “so far shown the world that it has changed compared to 20 years ago, such as claiming that girls and women can receive education,” it would be “unwise to expect the Taliban to reform its religious ideology.”

Also read: PM Modi holds brainstorming session with Russian President Vladmir Putin over Afghanistan

“…we should not forget that the Taliban is a Sunni Muslim political force with an fundamentalist religious ideology, and this nature will remain unchanged, and the measures it promised are more likely to be temporary,” the news organisation quoted Pan Guang, a senior expert on counterterrorism and Afghan studies at the Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences, as saying.

For Beijing, the $60 billion China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) is of strategic importance. It needs the support of Afghanistan for its successful completion and execution.

China’s concerns related to security have been rising, especially after the bomb blast in the Gwadar area in Balochistan.  

It is no secret that anger and discontent against China’s infrastructure projects have been rising. The country has also been under the spotlight for gross human rights violations in the Xinjiang region which borders Afghanistan.

Several analysts have noted that the withdrawal of the US troops from Afghanistan will give an edge to China which has huge investments, to dominate the political contours of the region, the roadmap for Beijing will not be easy, given the volatile situation in Afghanistan.