Former Trump and Bush administration adviser Christian Whiton warned Monday of China’s renewed interest in Afghanistan, as the Communist nation suggested it will provide financial assistance to the new government formed by the militant insurgents.
On “Tucker Carlson Tonight,” host Tucker Carlson reported that a Chinese Communist Party spokesman disparaged the United States as “the main perpetrator of [Afghan] chaos” and promised a “positive role in the new Taliban government.”
“We will see if [Beijing funds the Taliban government], but China’s dirty little secret is they really liked us in Afghanistan considering the alternatives,” Whiton said.
He stated, with the widely reported internment by the Chinese government of Muslim minority Uighurs in Xinjiang Province – which features a minute border with Afghanistan wedged between its longer Tajik and Pakistani boundaries – Beijing has been quietly accepting of American involvement there.
“So far, lot of Muslims have not cared too much about [the internment camps]: Persians in Iran and Arabs in the Gulf don’t seem too exercised – but if there was a group of Muslims who might be upset by this and might wage violent jihad against China it might be fellow East Turkic-type peoples, potentially trained or transited through Afghanistan,” Whiton said.
“So China is very worried about jihad next door.”
Whiton told Carlson to expect China’s interest to be more so in preventing such terrorism than the reported concern in the West of Taliban allies enriching themselves via Afghanistan’s vast mineral resources.
“I think it is both. The idea that Afghanistan will be a mass exporter of really useful minerals, hydrocarbons et cetera, it’s been around for a while, there was a survey that showed an enormous amount of potential in Afghanistan — but it takes capital, roads and investment in workers who are able to keep an industrial type lifestyle,” he said.
“None are really going to be present in Afghanistan and none really have so it is always a possibility there could be something there but it is doubtful.”
Whiton added that the Taliban has thus far been acting relatively “pragmatic” toward the Biden administration, asserting that a single-car bomb attack at the airport early on could have stymied American evacuation efforts.
“I would hate to have to depend on that but … all it would take to close down the Kabul airport is a pickup truck with some mortar tubes to disrupt flight operations – so people, not the G7, but others will probably recognize [the Taliban as a government] within a couple years.”