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CFR Wishes Chaos To Prevent BRI Investments in Afghanistan

Jennifer Hillman and David Sacks, co-directors of the CFR-sponsored Independent Task Force, posted an article on the Council on Foreign Relations blog insisting that “one should not expect that significant new Chinese investment will materialize [in Afghanistan]. At a time when BRI is retrenching, investing in Afghanistan is simply too risky and does not have enough economic upside.”

This sounds more like wishful thinking than a real analysis. The security situation has not deteriorated in Afghanistan with the American pullout, and Chinese investments in BRI countries have not decreased. China is not going into Afghanistan alone. It is coordinating with Pakistan, which has a big influence over the Taliban. China is also coordinating with the Shanghai Cooperation Organization.

More accurately, an article in Global Times on perspectives for Chinese investments in Afghanistan, differentiates between private companies and state-owned enterprises (SOE). While the latter are going to be cautious, the former are going to take more risk in a situation which is not yet clear, the article reports.

Western sanctions can play a negative role. In the worst case, big SOEs will avoid involvement if, as a result of sanctions, they risk being cut out of international financing. Western sanctions will be aimed at China, as the presence of Western business in Afghanistan is irrelevant.

At the moment, Chinese firms in Kabul are quite satisfied with the Taliban conduct. Taliban leaders have assured China Town leaders that they will be protected.

In the best scenario, if the Taliban deliver on their promises to fight terrorism, Afghanistan can be integrated in the Belt and Road projects for Pakistan.