China says "U.S. humiliation" in Afghanistan should be a warning sign to Taiwan and other U.S allies in the region that the American military "won't come to help" if war breaks out in the future.
As Taliban militants reclaim control of war-torn Afghanistan after the Biden administration's decision to remove all U.S. troops from the country, China is stepping in to fill the power vacuum. Communist Party officials have been talking to Taliban leaders, and China's embassy in Afghanistan is operating normally, even as the United States conducts an emergency evacuation of its personnel in the country.
Chinese state-controlled media and Communist Party loyalists gloated on Sunday over America's "humiliation" as the Taliban marched into the Afghan capital, Kabul, forcing U.S.-backed president Ashraf Ghani to flee the country while his government crumbled. China is now offering to fund post-war construction efforts in Afghanistan as part of its Belt and Road Initiative, a sweeping Communist Party infrastructure project that has helped the CCP gain a foothold in many countries across the globe.
The catastrophe in Afghanistan provides China another opportunity to subvert U.S influence and power in critical regions such as the Middle East. While the Biden administration scrambles to secure the safety of Americans stationed in the country, China is exploiting the situation to send a warning to its regional enemies, primarily Taiwan. The CCP is also promoting Afghanistan as an example of American decline across the world: "The US lost. It was a no-brainer," tweeted Chen Weihua, editor of the Communist-controlled China Daily, on Monday.
"From what happened in Afghanistan, those in Taiwan should perceive that once a war breaks out in the Straits, the island's defense will collapse in hours and U.S. military won't come to help," the Global Times, an official CCP mouthpiece, tweeted on Monday. "As a result, the [Democratic Progressive Party of Taiwan] will quickly surrender."
China is not the only anti-American regime that sees the situation in Afghanistan as an opportunity to erode American influence in the region. Iran and Russia already say they will increase their influence in the country and work with the Taliban, which seized the presidential palace on Monday afternoon in its latest victory in the capital.
The Biden administration on Friday sent 3,000 American troops back into Afghanistan to help evacuate Americans stranded in the country—a decision that many critics likened to the U.S. evacuation from Saigon, Vietnam, in 1979.
Meanwhile, the "Chinese Embassy in Afghanistan is operating normally," Chinese officials reported on Monday. "The principle of non-interference in domestic affairs enables China to maintain the confidence that it need not close its embassy in Kabul which still functions normally in this special, chaotic time."
While it remains unclear how active China will be in Afghanistan in the coming months, Beijing's early outreach to the Taliban and offer to help rebuild Afghanistan could signal that the CCP sees value in replacing the United States as a leading player in the country.
Secretary of State Antony Blinken spoke on Monday afternoon with Chinese foreign minister Wang Yi "about developments in Afghanistan, including the security situation and our respective efforts to bring U.S. and [Chinese] citizens to safety."