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Kabul [Afghanistan], August 22 (ANI): China is clearly positioning itself to be a major international partner to the Taliban after the fall of Kabul as it is eyeing Afghanistan's USD 1-2 trillion worth of rare Earth materials -- most notably lithium.
James Stavridis - 16th Supreme Allied Commander of NATO, wrote in Nikkei Asia said that China seeks to consolidate as much control as they can over strategic supply chains for everything from microchips to electric car batteries, they want primacy in Kabul -- and will be the first major nation to recognise the new regime.
Following the spectacular collapse of the American-trained Afghan army, the triumph of the Taliban, and the humiliating withdrawal under combat conditions of the remnants of the US diplomatic mission, Afghanistan seemingly reverts to 2001 -- run by hardline religious zealots determined to follow strict Sharia law.
However, there are many warlords in Afghanistan who will not be ready to bend their knees to the terrorist outfit. Moreover, there are Tajiks and Hazaras who have traditionally opposed the Taliban -- who have no love for what they see as Pashtun fanatics from Kandahar.
Afghanistan has a long and rich tradition of internal squabbling once an external foe is ejected, says Stavridis.
The notable exception, who will benefit from the Taliban, is Pakistan which trained the group in the early 1990s.
"For Pakistan, this is a moment of triumph. They have assiduously supported the Taliban for the past two decades, both to control terrorist groups that occasionally threaten Pakistan and to deny India a foothold in a country on the other side of their border," Stavridis outlined.
Closely aligned with China internationally, Pakistan will seek to partner with the Chinese in exploiting the mineral wealth and blocking India from a role with the Taliban regime. Pakistan also wants a certain level of stability to avoid mass illegal migration, something they have dealt with repeatedly from Afghanistan, reported Nikkei Asia.
For most of the 19th century, the Russian and British empires contended over Afghanistan in what was known as the Great Game.
The geopolitical competition recognised the strategic position of Afghanistan, and its potential to influence South Asia.
Both the Brits and the Russians, of course, were defeated over time in Afghanistan, the so-called "graveyard of empires."
However, for the moment, the dominant force in Afghanistan now is China. Thus the Great Game continues, with China in the lead with the support of Pakistan. (ANI)