Small Wars Journal

Russia, China Vie for Influence in Central Asia as U.S. Plans Afghan Exit

Russia, China Vie for Influence in Central Asia as U.S. Plans Afghan Exit by Craig Nelson and Thomas Grove – Wall Street Journal

As the U.S. seeks an exit from the Afghan war, Central Asia is on the cusp of a new era, with Russia and China vying for influence in a region that will no longer be dominated by America’s post-9/11 undertaking to bring peace and stability to Afghanistan.

The two countries are wary of Islamist militancy, both on their soil and spilling over from Afghanistan, while China wants to safeguard the billions of dollars its companies have invested in the region under President Xi Jinping’s Belt-and-Road Initiative, according to regional experts.

In recent years, Moscow and Beijing have taken more aggressive steps to protect their interests in the face of what they view as the weakening political grip of the American-allied government in Kabul, the expanding sway of the Taliban across Afghanistan, and the threat posed by Islamic State and other Islamist militant groups that have transnational agendas…

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