China building military base in Afghanistan
China started building the first military training base in Badakhshan, north-east Afghanistan, under development of cooperation with Kabul in counter terrorism, South China Morning Post states, referring to its own sources. “China will transfer there at least one squadron, over 500 soldiers, weapons and equipment for military training of Afghan soldiers”, stated one of the sources. The base will be located in Wakhan corridor, a narrow strip in mountains, bordering with three countries: Tajikistan in the north; Pakistan in the south; and Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region of People’s Republic of China in the east. It is noted that the project is implemented upon preliminary agreement of Afghanistan and China as one of the measures of liquidating “terrorism” (Islam) in Xinjiang, mainly populated by Muslims. It will be the first case of military presence of China at the territory of neighboring Afghanistan. Last year, China deployed its first overseas military logistic base in Djibouti, at the eastern coast of Africa. According to the sources, main contingent of troops at the base consists of engineers and builders engaged in construction of a marine terminal and infrastructure. According to the newspaper, the base in Afghanistan is meant for completely different strategic role due to its proximity to “unpeaceful Xinjiang”. According to observers, the military camp is created to prevent infiltration of Uighur militants and other extremists, trained and combat experienced in the ranks of ISIS terrorist group into the territory of People’s Republic of China. At the same time, China proceeds from the need of providing security along trans-border corridors of the “One belt, one road” project (BRI- Belt and Road Initiative). However, the Chinese defense ministry still did not officially confirm plans of establishing a Chinese base in Afghanistan. It is a reminder that military bases in Djibouti triggered a conflict between China and USA.