Updates on China’s Security and Militancy in Asia
• Since taking power, the Taliban has been dealing with the difficulties inherent to transitioning from a guerilla force to a state governing body. To strengthen its position, the group has sought international investment and aid. And due to geography and the sheer size of its economy, China seems a natural fit.
Earlier this week, China dispatched a freight train from Urumqi West Railway Station in Xinjiang carrying more than 1,000 tons of humanitarian aid to Afghanistan. The shipment included naan, milk tea powder, as well as winter clothes and blankets. CGTN reported that since July, China has sent more than 2,600 tons of humanitarian aid to Afghanistan via rail.
• However, when it comes to investment and increasing commercial activity in Afghanistan, Beijing and Chinese firms have been quite hesitant due to operational risk. But a Global Times exclusive report detailed how Chinese businesses are exploring lithium projects in Afghanistan. The Global Times said, “representatives of several Chinese companies have arrived in Afghanistan on special visas and are conducting on-site inspections of potential lithium projects.” They added that “despite growing interest from companies, major hurdles and risks remain for Chinese firms to actually implement such projects, given the major uncertainties in the country in terms of policy, security, the economy and infrastructure.”
• In addition, the foreign ministers of China, India, and Russia released a joint statement expressing their concern about the spread of drug trafficking in Afghanistan.
• Interestingly, researchers from the New Lines Institute claim a “senior source within the Taliban” spoke of Chinese advisors present in Afghanistan:
Since the group reactivated Bagram Air Base in October, rumors have been circulating that Chinese transport planes have been landing there. Local sources confirm several large transport planes landed in Bagram by night, although they could not confirm the nationality. A senior source within the Taliban, however, indicated that some 40 advisers from China (including some military ones) deployed to Afghanistan on Oct. 3, although there has been no confirmation from other sources.
Al-Qaeda Video Criticizing the UN and China
• On November 22nd, Al-Qaeda, through its official As-Sahab media organ, released a video devoted to criticizing the United Nations (UN). AQ leader Ayman al-Zawahiri was the lead speaker of the production and railed against the UN as being incompatible with Islam and hostile towards Muslims. In particular, he criticizes the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) — China, France, the Russian Federation, the United Kingdom, and the United States — who, he says, “enjoy a sacrosanct status above all, for they pull the strings in the UN,” referring to them as “the biggest criminals on the face of the earth.” Al-Zawahiri says that the UN is designed to protect the status quo and to prevent any attempt for Islamic countries to liberate occupied Muslim lands or protect their oppressed coreligionists.
If the Muslims in Palestine were to strive for the liberation of Palestine from Israeli occupation, and other Muslims were to offer them help, this would be considered unlawful on the basis of the UN Charter given the fact that Israel is a member state, and it is not in Israel’s interest that the Mujahideen help the Palestinians against it. The same analogy applies to … China’s occupation of East Turkistan.
The signing party must respect the territorial integrity and political independence of member states, including … China … and other states that occupy Muslim lands. This occupation must therefore be respected and recognized as being lawful.
For context, it is worth noting that Al-Qaeda released a video back in March, also featuring al-Zawahiri, that likewise scorned the UN and China. The video criticized China’s refusal to act and stop the violent atrocities against the Rohingya Muslim minority population in Myanmar, scorned China for its crackdown in Xinjiang, and included an old clip of Osama bin Laden (from 2006 I believe) in which he took aim at the five permanent members of the UNSC, explicitly citing China.
For more on the new AQ video, you can read my Militant Wire article on it here:
CODECO Militants Kill and Kidnap Chinese Nationals in DR Congo
• On November 25th, an army spokesman of the DRC reported that two Chinese nationals were killed and eight others kidnapped after the CODECO militia raided a mining camp in the country’s east. The assault happened in Ituri province where, according to Reuters, Chinese workers run “informal gold mining operations.” This is the second attack on Chinese nationals this week — both attributed to CODECO militants. Last Sunday, fighters killed a policeman and captured five Chinese nationals in South Kivu province. My previous newsletter covered the initial attack, read more about it here:
India Accuses China of Backing Insurgent Forces
• On November 13th, People’s Liberation Army (PLA) of Manipur and Manipur Naga People’s Front (MNPF) guerillas ambushed a convoy of Indian military forces, killing a commanding officer, his wife, son, and four soldiers. In the wake of the attack, some Indian media outlets, often reporting with quotes from retired generals, *accused* Beijing of supporting the insurgents — very serious allegations to be sure. To make the case, News18 noted how “the People’s Liberation Army of Manipur was formed in 1978 with the help of China with Myanmar (then called Burma) serving as the conduit.”
Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP)/New People’s Army (NPA)
• The CPP continues to aggressively criticize China on various issues. In the November 21st issue of Ang Bayan magazine, the CPP again took aim at China in an editorial titled “Climate change is business as usual under imperialism.” They say that the “most notorious” greenhouse gas emitters include the “US, China, Canada, Japan, UK, and other European Union members.” The CPP Information Bureau had recently made similar comments.