The leader of the exiled government of East Turkistan – the western, largely Uyghur-populated region China refers to as Xinjiang – told Breitbart News this weekend that China takes its friendship with the Taliban “very seriously,” as it could soon help lead to Beijing establishing a “strong foothold” in the Persian Gulf.
Prime Minister Salih Hudayar of the East Turkistan Government in Exile, a democratically elected body representing the people of the region, expressed little hope that the Taliban, a radical Islamist organization, would object in any way to China’s ongoing genocide of Muslim people in East Turkistan. Since at least 2017, the Chinese Communist Party has established an estimated 1,200 concentration camps in the region to imprison ethnic Uyghurs, Kazakhs, Kyrgyz, and other Muslim ethnic minorities. Survivors of the camps accuse Communist Party agents of mass murder, extreme torture, gang rape, slavery, and live organ harvesting. Outside of the camps, China has implemented a mass sterilization campaign to eliminate the native populations of Xinjiang and replace them with imported Han people from eastern China.
Both the administrations of President Donald Trump and Joe Biden have formally decreed China’s actions in East Turkistan to constitute genocide. The Taliban, however – which claims to adhere to strict sharia, or Islamic law, and represent the will of Muslim people – have openly refused to acknowledge the genocide, instead urging China to invest in Afghanistan and vowing to persecute Uyghurs under the guise of fighting terrorism.
The Taliban is now functioning as the government of Afghanistan after ousting the former regime on August 15. That day, Taliban jihadists surrounded Kabul, prompting then-President Ashraf Ghani to flee the country. China has not formally recognized the Taliban as the legitimate government of Afghanistan, but has falsely referred to the terrorist organization’s conquest as a manifestation of the “will and choice of the Afghan people,” an indication it will soon do so.
China’s warmth towards the Taliban, Hudayar told Breitbart News, was a product of the geopolitical significance of Afghanistan to the Communist Party’s greater plans for global influence.
“The role of Afghanistan cannot be underestimated concerning China’s strategy,” Hudayar said. “I think the Chinese take cooperation with the Taliban very seriously as this relationship is crucial for the safety and continuation of China’s Belt and Road Initiative.”
The Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) is a Chinese global infrastructure plan in which Beijing offers developing countries predatory loans to be used on lavish infrastructure projects, such as ports and railways. When the countries can no longer pay them, China seizes the properties. China is actively using the BRI to colonize parts of Africa, Eastern Europe, Latin America, and Southeast Asia. Afghanistan is particularly significant to the plan, however, as it is located directly between China and the Middle East and Europe.
“The Chinese are building a naval base in the Pakistani port of Gwadar in Baluchistan, intending to own a stake in the Persian Gulf. China is also building a modern airport in Tashkurgan (inside East Turkistan),” Hudayar noted. “This airport is being made to help ensure a Chinese stake in the Persian Gulf. In addition, when we look at the radar stations in the Maldives and other places, it’s clear that China is spreading its net.”
Conversely, Hudayar told Breitbart News, a stable Taliban regime will require prodigious funding to keep Afghans from returning to a state of civil war, and “the only country that can provide this to the Taliban is China.”
“To remain in power, the Taliban needs to please the Afghan people and develop the county to a certain extent. It takes a lot of money, expertise, and strategy to achieve this goal,” he noted.
Taliban spokesmen have repeatedly made public statements to this effect since the August 15 takeover, urging global investment in its jihadist regime.
“We need the reconstruction of Afghanistan, the people of Afghanistan need the budget. The [central bank] shall need the budget,” a desperate Suhail Shaheen, a Taliban spokesman, told the Chinese government network CGTN last week. China, in turn, has pressured American officials not to economically sanction Taliban jihadists in response to their widespread human rights abuses.
The fact that China is currently engaging in a genocide against Muslim peoples will not result in any tension between Beijing and the Taliban, Hudayar predicted.
“The Taliban will never sever ties with the Chinese due to China’s ongoing genocide of Uyghurs, but in fact, they will act on the Chinese demands as they have done so numerous times,” Hudayar told Breitbart News in remarks this weekend. “The Taliban have already clearly stated that they won’t be interfering in China’s so-called ‘internal affairs’ regarding the Uyghur genocide.”
The East Turkistan government holds that the genocide of the Muslim peoples of the region is not an “internal” issue because East Turkistan is not a legitimate province of China, but an occupied territory worthy of sovereignty.
Hudayar noted the Taliban has a long history of cooperation with China that precedes its takeover of Kabul, stemming back to the Taliban harboring Uyghur jihadists under the guise of the East Turkestan Islamic Movement (ETIM). China claims ETIM is a radical Islamist terrorist group that poses a concrete danger to the Chinese heartland. The U.S. government removed ETIM from its list of designated terrorist organizations last year on the grounds that no evidence suggests that it exists.
The former Afghan government arrested ten Chinese nationals last year on the grounds, initially, of being ETIM members. The investigation subsequently revealed at least one was a Chinese intelligence agent with ties to the Haqqani Network, a jihadist group with close ties to the Taliban, and the group appeared to be in Kabul to fabricate the existence of a terror cell.
“The Taliban will not use their Islamic identity to pressure China as they have already sold the Uyghurs to China and acted upon Chinese demands numerous times in the past,” Hudayar argued, citing the creation of “ETIM” under the Taliban’s nose and the proximity between the Taliban and the Haqqani network terrorists allegedly meeting with the Chinese intelligence agents last year.
“The existence of Uyghur jihadists in Afghanistan under the Taliban was because of the behest of China. Because China needed Uyghur jihadists to portray Uyghurs as ‘terrorists,’ and China still needs them to help justify its ongoing genocide in East Turkistan,” Hudayar continued. ” These jihadists will exist as long as China needs them and they will be disarmed overnight if China wishes. Its important to note that these jihadists have long pledged allegiance to the Taliban and they have designated the Taliban as the ‘Emir (Commander) of Muslims,’ so they must obey the Taliban.”
Hudayar warned the rise of the Taliban was a boon for the Chinese government and thus not just a threat to the people of East Turkistan, but to the world.
“My concern in this respect is not solely about East Turkistan but the international community as a whole. Fate again has benefited Chinese expansionism, and that is a catastrophe unfolding for the entire world,” Hudayar said. “At this rate, China will have a strong foothold in the Persian Gulf very soon. The calamity of the Belt and Road Initiative, China’s desire to have ports in the Mediterranean, its aggressive push in the Indo-Pacific, and its Neo-colonialism in Africa are vital issues escaping the international community’s attention.”