While Taliban fighters gained ground as the U.S. troop withdrew from Afghanistan, their leaders managed a diplomatic coup on the world stage. As the international community watched with bated breath to see the fate of the Afghans, the world watched in horror as the Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi stood shoulder to shoulder with a high profile Taliban delegation on Chinese soil in the city of Tianjin.
Beijing has been playing the long game. China has long understood the Taliban's sway on the country and its crucial role in establishing and maintaining peace on Afghan soil. Even as the U.S. and NATO prepare to engage the Taliban in the peace talks, China went ahead on its own. Placing little faith in the outcome of the peace talks, Beijing officially met with the Taliban leaders in 2019, raising many eyebrows.
Why is China wooing a radical Islamic group even as they fight to suppress the Muslim minorities in their own land? The answer to the question lies in China’s national security concerns and economic goals.