This discussion will start at 5:30 p.m. IST.
The withdrawal of the United States from Afghanistan has left a lasting impact on both Afghanistan’s future and on Asian geopolitics. It has also brought China into focus. The Comrades and the Mullahs traces the emergence of China as a key player in Afghanistan and the evolution of China’s Afghan policy, especially with respect to its relations with the Taliban. Beijing’s dominant role in Afghanistan’s future is a potentially game-changing development in Asian geopolitics, even if questions remain about the former’s appetite to step in to fill the void and the limits of its ambitions.
Ananth Krishnan and Stanly Johny examine what Beijing’s interests are and the drivers of its foreign policy, and, more specifically, how its new Silk Road project — the Belt and Road Initiative — is shaping China–Afghan relations. They look at how Afghanistan has emerged as a key point on the corridor heading west from Xinjiang, and discuss the Xinjiang factor, drawing on their travels to China’s western frontiers, as well as the internal dynamics that are pushing Beijing’s westward march.