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Afghanistan and the Belt and Road Initiative

  • Carlos Martins BrancoEmail author
Chapter
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Abstract

This chapter has a twofold objective: to understand how China’s cooperation with Afghanistan has served the purposes of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) and to assess the role played by Afghanistan in the implementation of that project. The study is carried out in three domains—political and diplomatic, economic and security. In the political and diplomatic, we examine the evolution of China’s bilateral and multilateral diplomatic initiatives with or involving Afghanistan, underlining their economic and security implications. Attention is paid to China’s diplomatic efforts to find a political solution for the conflict in Afghanistan. In the economic, we study the evolution of the relations between both countries along three topics—aid and development financing, bilateral trade and investment in natural resources. The security domain is studied along two aspects: the regional impact of Afghanistan’s insecurity, namely in the security situation along the two BRI corridors that go around Afghanistan, and in Central Asia and China Islamist movements; and China’s competition with the United States in Central Asia. The evolution of the cooperation in those three domains comprises the analysis of its impact on BRI, and the identification of noticeable changes of strategy after the announcement of BRI by President Xi Jinping, in 2013. We argue that Sino-Afghan cooperation, beneficial for both countries, has not been oriented to the implementation of BRI. Despite the importance that BRI might have for the economic development of Afghanistan through investment in transportation, energy and telecommunications infrastructure and in its regional integration, China has not assigned to Afghanistan a relevant role within the framework of BRI, a project where Afghanistan plays a marginal and subsidiary role.

Keywords

Belt and Road Initiative China Afghanistan Central Asia 

Acronyms

AAN

Afghanistan Analysts Network

BRI

Belt and Road Initiative

CACCP

China-Afghanistan Comprehensive Cooperative Partnership

CCAWEC

China-Central Asia-West Economic Corridor

CNPC

China National Petroleum Corporation

CPEC

China-Pakistan Economic Corridor

DW

Deutsche Welle

ECNS

English language website of China News Service

ET

The Economic Times

ETIM

East Turkestan Islamic Movement

GKtoday

General knowledge Today (Indian website)

ICG

International Crisis Group

IS-K

Islamic State Khorasan

MCC

Metallurgical Group Corporation

MENAFN

Middle East North Africa Financial Network

MFA

Ministry of Foreign Affairs

MoMP

Ministry of Mines and Petroleum

MoU

Memorandum of Understanding

MPRA

Munich Personal RePEc Archive

NATO

North Atlantic Treaty Organization

NDTV

New Delhi Television Limited

OBOR

One Belt One Road

OEC

Observatory of Economic Complexity

OECD

Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development

PRC

People’s Republic of China

QCG

Quadrilateral Coordination Group

RATS

SCO Regional Anti-Terrorist Structure

RECCA

Regional Economic Cooperation Conference on Afghanistan

SAIL

Steel Authority of India Limited

SCO

Shanghai Cooperation Organization

TIM

Turkistan Islamic Movement

TIP

Turkistan Islamic Party

VOA

Voice of Afghanistan

WSJ

Wall Street Journal

Xinhuanet

Official State-run Press Agency of the PRC

Notes

Acknowledgements

We acknowledge that Afghanistan is a field of competition between China and India, but we are not going to study it because it has no direct relation with the two goals of this article.

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© The Author(s) 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.IPRI, Universidade Nova de LisboaLisbonPortugal

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