Afghanistan President Ashraf Ghani meets China's Xi Jinping on a visit to Beijing (photo: dpa)

China casts a strategic eye over Afghanistan’s riches

As the West begins to disengage from Afghanistan, China is sharpening its focus on the war-ravaged country. At stake is a wealth of untapped resources lying beneath Afghanistan’s mountainous terrain. But its interest is not just commercial; there is a strategic reason, too. Increased geopolitical risks, not least from the Taliban and radical Islamist groups, threaten further instability in China’s ethnically-divided northwest and challenge Beijing’s authority, writes GIS guest expert Brendan O'Reilly.

THIRTEEN years after the September 11, 2001, attacks and the subsequent toppling of the Taliban, Nato and the American military are winding down their war effort in Afghanistan.

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 Brendan O’Reilly
China’s security plays a huge role in defining its Afghan strategy. Beijing has long faced ethnic unrest among the ethnically Turkic Muslim Uighurs in Xinjiang
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