Xi Jinping with President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani of Afghanistan

The US military and other NATO troops are hastily leaving Afghanistan and appear to be leaving before 9/11, the deadline they have announced.

But Afghanistan, a country in an extremely important geostrategic position and a country rich in ores and minerals, will not be left alone. China is increasingly “eyeing” this country and is increasingly assertive in trying to establish influence and build its infrastructure. So far, this has been made more difficult for them due to Washington’s influence on the government in Kabul, but that influence is also weakening.

China sees Afghanistan as an extremely important route for the Belt and Road Geopolitical Project (BRI). An anonymous source told The Daily Beast that Beijing is negotiating with the government in Kabul on a $ 62 billion Sino-Pakistani Economic Corridor (CPEC) project that includes highways, railways and pipelines between Pakistan, Afghanistan and China. Chinese spokesman Zhao Lijian confirmed that China is negotiating with another country to join the CPEC.

More specifically, Beijing and Kabul are currently negotiating a highway between Peshawar and Kabul. Peshawar is a city in Pakistan located on China’s planned trade route. With that highway, Afghanistan would de facto Chinese enter BRI.

The Belt and Road is a project that should strengthen China’s global influence and eventually put it in a solid position as the world’s most economically powerful power. It is worth about $ 4 billion and will span 60 states. Afghanistan is important because it connects Europe, Central Asia and the Middle East.

Another proof that China is seriously counting on Afghanistan is the construction of Taxkorgan Airport on the Pamir Plateau in the Xinjiang region bordering Afghanistan. In addition, China is building the Gwadar seaport in Pakistan’s Balochistan region, also along the border with Afghanistan.

But China is not just negotiating with the official government in Kabul. Beijing is also in contact with the Taliban, who are increasingly occupying the territory of Afghanistan during the American withdrawal. In addition, China has a strong influence on Pakistan from which a large number of Taliban come.

China is gaining free “ground” from the US withdrawal from Afghanistan, which it will gladly use. On the other hand, instability in Afghanistan is not currently conducive to Chinese investment. Yet Afghanistan cannot be a conflicted state forever, and China is working to win over all parties involved. Finally, China has shown through many political and diplomatic decisions that it thinks long-term.