At the end of July, following reports of Taliban chief Mullah Omar’s death, peace talks between Afghanistan and the Taliban to be held in China were canceled, striking a serious blow to China’s diplomatic efforts in Afghanistan. In an email interview, Kemel Toktomushev, a research fellow at the University of Central Asia, discussed China’s diplomatic outreach in Afghanistan and Central Asia.
WPR: How active of a diplomatic role is China playing in Afghanistan, and how does China’s influence in Afghanistan compare to other international partners?
Kemel Toktomushev: Indeed, Beijing is becoming more proactive in the region in general, and in Afghanistan in particular. It has long been believed that China established and maintained connections to the Taliban even after the launch of the United States-led invasion in 2001.