Zabihullah Mujahid, a spokesman for the Taliban group, says China will be the Taliban’s “main partner” and help rebuild Afghanistan.

He made this remark in an interview with Italian newspaper La Repubblica on September 1, according to Interfax

“China will be our main partner and represents a great opportunity for us because it is ready to invest in our country and support reconstruction efforts,” Mujahid was quoted as saying.  

He reportedly noted that the Taliban valued China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) as the project that would revive the ancient Silk Road.

He said China will also help Afghanistan fully utilize its rich copper resources and give the country a path into global markets.

The Taliban spokesman further noted, “China is our gateway to markets around the world.” 

The Taliban took control of Afghanistan on August 15, forcing President Ashraf Ghani and other top officials to flee the country.

Some international experts believe that China could become a crucial supporter of Taliban-led Afghanistan, building Beijing’s influence in South and Central Asia as long as the regime in Kabul does not export extremism. 

Mr. Jonathan Hillman, the director of the Reconnecting Asia Project at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS – think tank in the United States), says, “China's Belt and Road faces major obstacles that will limit large transport and energy projects, but its tech dimension, the Digital Silk Road, is likely to be pulled and pushed into Afghanistan.”

According to him, the Taliban needs assistance to assert control over largely unfamiliar and vastly expanded networks, Chinese firms have expertise and experience operating in the country, and the Chinese government may see an opportunity to increase security and build leverage.

China continues to see its influence rise in Central Asia.  Beijing is already a top investor and is seeing a growing shift into political and military affairs in the region.

Mr. Reid Standish, a correspondent for Radio Liberty focused on China in Eurasia, however, considers that Afghanistan is unlikely to alter any of these trends.