What’s Behind China’s Growing Security Presence in Afghanistan?

Chinese Premier Li Keqiang and Afghan Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah during a welcoming ceremony outside the Great Hall of the People, Beijing, China, May 16, 2016 (AP photo by Ng Han Guan).
Chinese Premier Li Keqiang and Afghan Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah during a welcoming ceremony outside the Great Hall of the People, Beijing, China, May 16, 2016 (AP photo by Ng Han Guan).

Recent reports of Chinese security forces operating in Afghanistan have prompted speculation about whether China has crossed another important threshold in its policy and posture on overseas military activity. Claims of sightings of Chinese military vehicles in the Wakhan Corridor, the narrow strip of territory in northeastern Afghanistan that extends to the Chinese border, have been circulating since late last year. But it was only after a People’s Liberation Army press briefing in February that any activities were officially confirmed. The PLA spokesperson denied the involvement of the Chinese military proper, stating that it was “the law enforcement departments in […]

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