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Episode 08 – China in Afghanistan

About this Episode

China’s foreign minister Wang Yi recently hosted a delegation of the Taliban, led by Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, in Tianjin. The meeting highlighted Beijing’s balancing act — of seeing both an opportunity and a threat in Afghanistan in the backdrop of the withdrawal of US troops.

This is not the first time that China has made an outreach to the Taliban. The Afghan militant group has visited China before, and the Chinese maintain regular channels of communication and contact through the Taliban’s Doha office. However, the recent Taliban visit has the markings of one that was put together over a short period.

As Chinese skepticism about the U.S’s withdrawal strategy has increased in recent times, the Ministry of Foriegn Affairs in Beijing has also been wary of America supporting military groups in Afghanistan to attack China. This episode of Dragon Road discusses this and more about the future of China in Afghanistan. Raffaello Pantucci, an expert on China, gives his views in this detailed discussion about China, its relations with the Ghani Government, its dealings with Taliban, its interests in the region and its reservations with the US exit.

About the Guest

Raffaello Pantello is currently a Senior Visiting Fellow at the S. Rajarantam School of International Studies (RSIS). He is also a Senior Associate Fellow at the Royal United Services Institute (RUSI). Prior to this, he was at the International Institute for Strategic Studies and the Center for Strategic and International Studies. Pantello’s research has centered around terrorism and counter-terrorism, as well as China’s regional relations. He has authored the book We Love Death As You Love Life: Britain’s Suburban Terrorists.

Publications by the Guest

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A Non-Resident Fellow at the Middle East Institute in Washington, DC and president of Vizier Consulting, LLC, a political risk advisory firm focused on the Middle East and South Asia.