China Looks for a Resource Bonanza in Afghanistan – by Salman Rafi Sheikh (Asia Sentinel – September 21, 2023)

Jihadis are a concern

Earlier this month, China became the first country to appoint a formal ambassador to Afghanistan since the Taliban’s violent takeover of the country in August 2021, an appointment that took place even though China has come under attack by jihadists, when the IS-K attacked a hotel in Kabul frequented by Chinese nationals.

No further attacks have taken place even though the anti-China East Turkestan Independence Movement (ETIM) is present in Afghanistan. China’s decision to send its ambassador is thus an indication of Beijing’s growing confidence in the Taliban government’s ability to ensure security and protect Chinese interests.

It is also an indication of China’s eagerness to open up Afghanistan’s considerable mineral resources, which have long been shelved by decades of war. Afghanistan’s reserves are an array of riches coveted by the world’s industrialized countries, from rare earths to precious stones to oil and gas in 1,400 mineral fields, according to surveys.

According to a joint study by The Pentagon and the United States Geological Survey, Afghanistan has an estimated US$1 trillion of untapped minerals, a bonanza for one of the world’s poorest and undeveloped countries.

For the rest of this article: