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What future does China see for Afghanistan, and what engagement shall we expect from Chinese actors?

Over the past few years, China has developed a more active Afghanistan policy. In the first few years after the 2001 intervention, it’s main focus was in the economic domain, with infrastructure development and investment in minerals extraction. More recently, China has actively sought to drive a political process, not the least with its championing of the Quadrilateral Coordination Group - Afghanistan, China, Pakistan and the United States – which met multiple times in order to build a foundation for talks with the Afghan Taliban, but is now dormant.

This takes place at a time when China is further expanding its cooperation with Pakistan, within the co-called Chinese-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), and the Chinese recently expressed in including Afghanistan in the scheme. China’s new ambitious project, the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), a major infrastructure investment program aimed at connecting China to European markets, both by sea and over land, is also of significance here. Simultaneously, China’s worries about violent extremism, both domestically and in the region, remains strong. With Afghanistan’s security continuing to decline, and a precarious political situation overall in the country, the longevity of the US engagement is questioned.

What is the Chinese analysis of the situation in Afghanistan? What are the dominant Chinese concerns? What are the most likely scenarios for Chinese engagement in the years ahead? Following an introduction by one of the world’s leading experts on Afghanistan, we will be asking those questions to a panel of China’s foremost analysts of Afghan-Chinese relations, in order to learn more about what to expect from the expanding engagement of a major global power.



Dr. Barnett R. Rubin, Senior Fellow and Associate Director, Center on International Cooperation, New York University


  • Dr. Ying Rong, Vice President and Senior Research Fellow, China Institute of International Studies (CIIS)
  • Dr. Hu Shisheng, Director, Institute of South, Southeast Asian and Oceanian Studies, China Institutes of Contemporary International Relations
  • Dr. Wang Shida, Deputy Director, Institute of South, Southeast Asian and Oceanian Studies, China Institutes of Contemporary International Relations
  • Dr. Wang Xu, Associate Professor and Executive Deputy Director, Center for South Asian Studies, Peking University

Moderated by Dr. Kristian Berg Harpviken, Research Professor, PRIO

Relevant Blog Post

The event is a part of the Afghanistan Week 2018, a collaboration between the Chr. Michelsen Institute, the Norwegian Afghanistan Committee and PRIO.