Both the Chinese and Tajik governments officially deny the existence of the base and Chinese personnel. A visit by an RFE/RL journalist near the compound and the surrounding area saw Beijing's first military footprint in Central Asia in full swing as it finds itself at a crossroads following the Taliban's August takeover of Afghanistan.
China is navigating increasingly strained ties between the Tajik government and the Taliban and searching for a way to cooperate with Afghanistan's new Taliban regime to protect its regional interests, particularly targeting Uyghur extremists in Afghanistan.
Concerns over the porous borders of Afghanistan and Tajikistan also led to a secret agreement between both countries and Beijing that The Wall Street Journal reported in 2019 granted China the right to repair or expand 30 to 40 preexisting outposts on the Tajik side of the border.
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