The American withdrawal from Afghanistan is causing concerns amongst its immediate neighbours: China, Iran and Pakistan. Russia is no longer a neighbour of Afghanistan but the Soviet Union was. The Soviet invasion in Afghanistan lasted from 1979-1989. The Soviet withdrawal in 1989 resulted in a corridor between Afghanistan and China. A map shows the various Afghan borders.
A look at this map makes you wonder why Western military forces even bothered with the political situation in Afghanistan. You might even argue that the West protected the interests of China, Iran and Pakistan. My remark may also explain why these countries are now concerned with the American withdrawal.
The corridor between Afghanistan and China isn’t a random geographical fact because it borders with the Chinese Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, including its Uyghur internment camps. The Uyghur are mostly Muslim as are the Afghan Taliban, who believe in the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan.
There’s little to no doubt that the American withdrawal from Afghanistan will increase local tensions. China will be worried that the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan will try to control the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region. The religious persecution of Chinese Muslims will give the Taliban plenty of reason to interfere.
Underestimating the Afghan Taliban has been the reason for the 1979 Soviet invasion, as well as the 1989 Soviet and 2021 American withdrawal from Afghanistan. China may fall in the same trap (eg, by occupying the Afghan corridor).
I’m inclined to believe that the American withdrawal from Afghanistan is a geopolitical masterstroke, albeit from a macro perspective (my blogs), rather than a blunder (PS). From a micro perspective, many people may get hurt. Americans may be held accountable but are they really responsible? See my blogs on accountability and responsibility.
“Empires have no interest in operating within an international system; they aspire to be the international system. Empires have no need for a balance of power. That is how the United States has conducted its foreign policy in the Americas, and China through most of its history in Asia.” A quote by the American diplomat Henry Kissinger (b. 1923) from his 1994 book Diplomacy.
Note: all markings (bold, italic, underlining) by LO unless stated otherwise.