China to Train Afghan CounterTerror Brigade
China has increasing trouble keeping out of regional conflicts as its trade interests continue to expand in the Middle East. Afghanistan’s counterterrorism brigade per a recent agreement will now be training in China. The recently discovered mineral wealth in the mountains of Afghanistan promise rewards for those willing to fight for them. China is currently building up military establishments in Afghanistan and equipping the Afghan fighters with combat vehicles, helicopters, air capabilities, and reconnaissance.
China is seeking Russian or Soviet-made equipment like the MI-35 and the US has planned to help replace Afghanistan’s aging fleet of Russian Mi-17 helicopters with U.S.-made UH-60 Black Hawks. Reports show Chinese ground troops on joint counterterrorism patrols over the last year since Taliban militants have regained some of their strength in the region.
Expanded interest in the Middle Eastern Regions
Chinese engagement with Pakistan is made in the hopes of securing border security between Pakistan and Afghanistan due to China’s significant stake in the economies of both countries. In 2017, China pledged $73 million to support Afghanistan fledgling security forces including Afghan border police and seek investment in ground transportation in line with Chinese loans and transportation development in Pakistan.
China is in the midst of facing policy changes with respect to security in countries in which they have a significant investment. Metallurgical Corporation of China Limited (MCC), one of China’s state-owned mining companies, has taken possession of a huge copper deposit, Mes Aynak, from the Taliban. Speculation of a Chinese military presence in Pakistan has been acknowledged. China’s economic and geopolitical alignments in the region include Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iran, and the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) countries including Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, and Tajikistan into the Eurasian energy and transport corridors.