If reports are to be believed, China is planning to take over the abandoned US airbase in Bagram, Afghanistan. This, reports suggest will not only help Beijing build friendly relations with the newly formed Taliban led Islamist government in Afghanistan but also embarrass the United States of America.
As per reports, China is currently conducting feasibility study on sending workers for economic development program Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) to Bagram. However, the Chinese Foreign Ministry has denied having any such plans. The military airfield is about an hour away from Kabul and was first established by the Soviets during their occupation of Afghanistan. At the height of US occupation of Afghanistan, Bagram airbase was the busiest in the world.
The Bagram airbase played an important role in US military conducting land and air operations during its ‘war on terrorism’ in Afghanistan. The said ‘war’ ended last month after US officially withdrew its troops as the Islamist group Taliban took over the country.
OpIndia had earlier reported that with US’ departure from Afghanistan, China may up its ante to include Afghanistan in its BRI program which it previously could not because of US interference. The talks have been on between the former Afghan government led by Ashraf Ghani as well as Chinese officials since a few years now.
Through a network of roads and maritime channels across 60 countries, China wants to establish its influence across the globe. Afghanistan serves as China’s gateway to Europe, Middle East, and Central Asia. Which is why, the Chinese authorities are more than eager to offer loans, build targeted infrastructure projects and set foot in the Islamic Republic.
Earlier, America’s former envoy to the UN Nikki Haley had also raised concerns that China will take over the Bagram airbase and use Pakistan to get stronger against India.