Is Afghanistan a foregone conclusion

As the United States nears the completion of its withdrawal from Afghanistan, the situation facing this country, which is located in the heart of Asia, is becoming more and more anxious and complex: the rise of violence and chaos, the wrestling of big powers in geopolitics, and the prospect of great uncertainty… Against this background, Chinese State Councilor and foreign minister Wang Yi made a speech to Turkmenistan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Tajikistan, Pakistan and other countries from July 12 to 16 Uzbekistan visited and attended the meeting of foreign ministers of the SCO Afghanistan liaison group.

As a country with important geopolitical interests in Central Asia, many Chinese people can not help but have many questions: will Taliban re-establish a fundamentalist extremist regime in Afghanistan like that at the end of last century? Will the current situation in Afghanistan affect Xinjiang, China? How do you view the Taliban’s recent statement on “preventing the East Iraq movement from entering Afghanistan” and “welcoming China to invest”? In response to these problems, a reporter from the global times interviewed Qian Feng, director of the research department of the National Institute of strategic studies of Tsinghua University.

Global Times: how do you judge the development of the situation in Afghanistan? Judging from the current development of the war, is it a “foregone conclusion” for the Taliban to regain power in Afghanistan?

Qian Feng: the return of the Taliban to power is only a possibility, or a hypothesis, of the development of the situation in Afghanistan, which faces many variables.

First of all, although the Taliban claims to control 85% of Afghanistan’s territory, the authenticity of this unilateral claim has yet to be confirmed. Even if this figure is true, the areas controlled and affected by the Taliban are mainly concentrated in vast rural areas, with no major cities. This is not a day or two. As early as ten years ago, when NATO troops occupied absolute superiority, it was estimated that the Taliban still controlled 70% of the territory of Afghanistan.

Secondly, most of the reports we see on the battlefield situation in Afghanistan are unilateral reports on the Taliban offensive. There are few voices about the government forces, but the Afghan government forces are not as vulnerable as the outside world thinks. In fact, in recent years, the U.S. military in Afghanistan has not participated in ground operations against the Taliban, and the fighting is basically between the Afghan government forces and the Taliban. In addition to the huge number of government troops, there are also some special forces with good combat effectiveness, and there are air forces that the Taliban do not have.