Eyeing rich bounty, China in line for Afghan role

KABUL (AP) – China, long a bystander to the conflict in Afghanistan, is stepping up its involvement as U.S.-led forces prepare to withdraw, attracted by the country’s vast mineral resources but concerned that any post-2014 chaos could embolden Islamist insurgents in its own territory.

Cheered on by the U.S. and other Western governments, which see Asia’s giant as a potentially stabilizing force, China could prove the ultimate winner in Afghanistan – having shed no blood and not much aid.

Beijing signed a strategic partnership last summer with the war-torn country. This was followed in September with a trip to Kabul by its top security official, the first by a leading Chinese government figure in 46 years, and the announcement that China would train 300 Afghan police officers. China is also showing signs of willingness to help negotiate a peace agreement as NATO prepares to pull out in two years.

It’s a new role for China, as its growing economic might gives it a bigger stake in global affairs. Success, though far from guaranteed, could mean a big payoff for a country hungry for resources to sustain its economic growth and eager to maintain stability in Xinjiang.

Full article: Eyeing rich bounty, China in line for Afghan role (AP | MyWay News)

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