In a recent development overseas, China has sought to step up cooperation with Central Asian countries on security issues amid fears of a resurgence of terrorism in Afghanistan and subsequent threat to its Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) infrastructure projects in the region.

As the September 11 deadline of complete withdrawal is approaching, Beijing is petrified about instability in the country. It fears that it could give ground to Islamic Fundamentalism that would spill over into China’s Xinjiang province that borders the country, South China Morning Post reported.

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi told his Central Asian counterparts on Wednesday, that they should work together to crack down on terrorist forces and prevent transnational crime to create a safe “Silk Road”.

Wang told the foreign ministers of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan in the Chinese city of Xian, in Shaanxi,

“We should cooperate to prevent transnational oraganised crime, on drugs control, network security, managing non-governmental organisations, the security of large-scale activities and projects, and to safeguard our institutions, personnel, and facilities to create a safe Silk Road.”

US withdrawal from Afghanistan to add security threats

Moreover, there is a looming sense of fear in Pakistan that the US withdrawal from Afghanistan will increase instability in its neighbourhood, and add security threats in the region while putting Belt and Road projects at risk. Violence has intensified in Afghanistan since the United States missed a May 1 deadline, as agreed with the Taliban last year, to withdraw all of its troops. The US and NATO have pledged to withdraw their troops from Afghanistan by September 11. They have begun their final withdrawal from the country, after 20 years of war.

Instability in Pakistan has steadily increased and outlawed groups like Tehreek e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), have increased cross-border attacks in the country, Nikkei Asia reported. According to an analyst Fakhar Kakakhel, the US pull-back along with a weak Afghan government will seriously destabilize the region.

Last week China had blamed the United States’ “abrupt announcement of complete withdrawal of forces” for the explosive attacks throughout Afghanistan, saying the step has worsened the security situation and has threatened peace and stability as well as people’s lives and safety in the war-torn country.

China’s reaction came after brutal multiple explosions at a girls’ school that reported over 90 dead in Kabul. Chinese foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying had said China was “shocked” by the attacks and “deeply saddened” by the death toll. She also called on Washington to pull out troops “in a responsible manner”.