Five of the World’s top 10 largest armies are in the region — four are nuclear powers.
Five out of the six countries bordering Afghanistan are more than 93% Muslim.
A great deal has been written about Afghanistan in recent weeks and the situation is still highly volatile as I write. Most of the commentary has revolved around the politics, the realities on the ground concerning the fall of Kabul, the Taliban takeover, and the need to repatriate many thousands of Westerners and of Afghans who assisted them in the last 20 years.
Below I present some basic facts about the region, and about Afghanistan’s neighbours.
Basic facts can sometimes be misleading, as they can hide important but nuanced details. Nevertheless, I hope readers will find what follows gives an interesting overall perspective on the crisis and on the players who may become involved on an increasing basis. This summary is only intended to give readers a feel for some basic facts which have not necessarily been covered in broadcasts.
1. The military perspective in the region
There are many ways of measuring a country’s military importance. Below I show only a snapshot based on two criteria: the size of each country’s standing army by world ranking and whether it has nuclear weapons or not.
- 1. China 2,185,000 — Nuclear power
- 2. India 1,455,550 — Unofficial nuclear power
- 5. Russia 1,014,000 — Nuclear power
- 6. Iran 661,000 — Not yet a nuclear power
- 7. Pakistan 651,800 — Unofficial nuclear power
2. The religious aspect in Afghanistan’s six neighbouring countries
Afghanistan borders six countries. Five out of the six are between 93.0–99.5% Muslim countries in terms of their populations. The sixth is the massive country of China which has a tiny Muslim population overall, but naturally, this disguises regional disparities.
- Iran: 99.5%
- Tajikistan: 96.7%
- Uzbekistan: 96.7%
- Pakistan: 96.4%
- Turkmenistan: 93.0%
- China: 1.8%
- Afghanistan: 99.7%
As most readers know, there are branches of Islam and these are very important. In broad terms, the Taliban are Sunnis whereas Iran, for example, is predominantly Shia, which has been the source of difficult relations. However, in a summary such as this, I cannot go into every detail. It suffices to say that religion plays a big part in the upcoming politics and also on issues like human rights (below).
3. Human rights and the rule of law
Religion most definitely plays its part in issues like human rights. Again in broad terms, all the countries in the region have appalling records in this regard. Some of this is well-known, as for instance with the treatment of women under Islamic law. Sharia law is commonplace even where it is not officially recognised.
Some aspects of the influence of religion on human rights in some countries are less well-known, such as the Pakistani law making homosexuality punishable by up to life in prison. Pakistan is a member of the Commonwealth and has normal trading relations with the United Kingdom.
Finally, there is China, by far the most dominant country militarily and economically, and which has a border with Afghanistan. China’s treatment of its Uyghur Muslims has caused an outcry in the West, as has the complete abrogation of its treaty with the United Kingdom over Hong Kong. Yet China continues to be the largest exporter of goods to most Western countries.
4. The economic power of all these countries
Below I show the latest estimates of the GDP of each country which we listed as key military powers in item 1 above, with their world rankings. It should be noted that in some of these countries the rigour of the data may be less reliable.
- 2. China: $14,722.7 bn
- 6. India: $2,623.0 bn
- 11. Russia: $1,483.5 bn
- 26. Iran: $491.7 bn
- 46. Pakistan: $263.7 bn
- 115. Afghanistan: $19.8 bn
[Source: The World Bank figures for 2020 — or 2019, if 2020 not available]
For many years China has been using its economic power to buy influence across the globe. This even extends to top British universities which have departments and ‘projects’ funded in effect by the Chinese Communist Party.
When it comes to Afghanistan, China did not hang back. Following President Joe Biden’s announcement earlier this year on troop withdrawals, China opened dialogues with the Taliban and is in the process of investing in the country. It is widely thought that Afghanistan’s large natural deposits of precious elements such as lithium — vital in electric batteries — is driving significant Chinese involvement and influence in the new Islamic Republic.
What is the relevance of all this to British readers?
Firstly: 457 British servicemen were killed and thousands more injured, many horrifically so. They played a major part in keeping our country safe for 20 years. The sacrifice of so many lives, and of the sacrifice of the life chances of so many more, is something this country must never forget. We will remember them.
Aside from the human cost, there is the financial aspect. According to official government figures I have accessed the United Kingdom has given £3.3 billion in aid to Afghanistan since the US-led invasion in 2001 which was enthusiastically supported by the then Prime Minister Tony Blair. This amount is now increasing. Addressing the Commons on 18 August 2021, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said UK humanitarian and development assistance to Afghanistan would be increased to another £286 million in 2021.
The wider concerns of this crisis for the United Kingdom
In addition to the direct costs in lives and money, there are wider issues at stake here. Perhaps the most significant, apart from the risks of Western hostage-taking, mass deaths by Taliban death squads, and intra-region conflicts developing is the role of both China and Russia.
Where the West’s global superpower stutters — as it most definitely has done under the increasingly chaotic presidency of Joe Biden — China and Russia will see opportunities to exploit and they will do so.
The threats and opportunities in the world for Global Britain are significant.
As a footnote, I have analysed the role, Joe Biden may have had in this debacle now taking place in Afghanistan for his own selfish reasons.
Afghanistan! is sitting on a Lithium gold mine for batteries and more. China wants to mine that Lithium gold of that I have no doubt
It’s not the first time the Bidens have been accused of taking cash from the Chinese Communist Party!
So what was the plan because this one is the only one that seems to make sense….
Communist Cash to the puppet president they put in power with help from their useful idiot liberal media and election riggers.
Pull America out of Afghanistan and let it fall to the Taliban who are only interested in heroin, not mining Lithium!
China gets to mine the natural resources and control the supply of batteries in a new green world, plagued by climate change useful idiots.
Is this true? Well
Under Biden’s predecessor Donald Trump, Washington brokered a deal with the Taliban that would have seen the American military presence in the country, which turned 20 years old this year, end on May 1, 2021. In exchange, the Taliban promised not to attack American troops and to cut ties with international jihadist organizations like al-Qaeda, whose attacks on America on September 11, 2001, prompted the Afghan War.
Instead, Biden broke the deal, extending the military presence initially into September before cutting it back to August.
Taliban officials took Biden’s disavowal of the agreement as a license to begin a campaign of conquest nationwide that has resulted in, according to Taliban officials, the group now controlling about 85 per cent of the country. Taliban officials also falsely claimed they never agreed to cut ties with al-Qaeda.
So by breaking the deal Trump brokered, Biden gave the Taliban terrorists the green light to violate their end of the agreement. And so, here we are, America fleeing with their tail between their legs and dealing with a national embarrassment unseen since Saigon 1975.
Does anyone honestly believe the Taliban would have launched this offensive with Trump still in office? Does anyone believe Trump would have left all that U.S. military equipment behind for the Taliban to scoop up?
Nothing stopped Biden from evacuating people from Afghanistan starting on the day he took office. Nothing stopped Biden from destroying all the military equipment that has just fallen into the hands of barbarians.
Nothing stopped Biden from honouring Trump’s deal. Nothing stopped Biden from increasing American troop presence to protect Americans and friendly Afghans until everyone was evacuated.
Thousands of lives, trillions of dollars, twenty years… And Biden lost it all in one day.
So what has all this got to do with the Chinese you may ask, they have not been involved.
Well actually yes they have, and Biden will have known they have been involved has the US Intelligence service will have briefed him and will have kept him in the loop along with the VP
On July 28, 2021, State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi met in Tianjin with Baradal, head of the Afghan Taliban Political Committee who is visiting China. The heads of the Atta Religious Committee and the Propaganda Committee travelled with each other. Wang Yi said that China is Afghanistan’s largest neighbour and always respects Afghanistan’s sovereign independence and territorial integrity, always adheres to non-interference in Afghanistan’s internal affairs, and always pursues a friendly policy oriented towards all the Afghan people. Afghanistan belongs to the Afghan people, and the future and destiny of Afghanistan should be in the hands of the Afghan people. The hasty withdrawal of the United States and NATO troops from Afghanistan actually marked the failure of the U.S. policy towards Afghanistan, and the Afghan people have an important opportunity to stabilize and develop their own country.
Photo of State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi and Baradal, head of the Afghan Taliban Political Committee
The Chinese delegation meeting with the Taliban delegation in Tianjin China.
Wang Yi pointed out that Atta is a pivotal military and political force in Afghanistan and is expected to play an important role in the process of peace, reconciliation and reconstruction in Afghanistan. It is hoped that Atta will put the country and the nation’s interests first, hold high the banner of peace talks, establish peace goals, establish a positive image, and pursue an inclusive policy. All factions and nationalities in Afghanistan should unite and truly implement the principle of “Afghanistan-led and Afghan-owned”, promote the Afghan peace and reconciliation process to achieve substantive results as soon as possible, and independently establish a broad and inclusive political structure that suits Afghanistan’s own national conditions.
Wang Yi emphasized that the “East Iraq Movement” is an international terrorist organization listed by the UN Security Council and poses a direct threat to China’s national security and territorial integrity. Cracking down on the “Eastern Iranian Movement” is the shared responsibility of the international community. It is hoped that Atta will completely draw a line with all terrorist organizations such as the “Eastern Iraqi Movement” and deal with a resolute and effective attack to remove obstacles to regional security, stability and development cooperation, play an active role, and create favourable conditions.
Baradar expressed his gratitude for the opportunity to visit China. He said that China has always been a trustworthy and good friend of the Afghan people and appreciates China’s fair and active role in the process of peace and reconciliation in Afghanistan. The Afghan Taliban are fully sincere in striving for and achieving peace and are willing to work with all parties to build a political structure in Afghanistan that is inclusive and acceptable to all the Afghan people to protect human rights and the rights of women and children. Atta will never allow any forces to use Afghanistan’s territory to do things that endanger China. Atta believes that Afghanistan should develop friendly relations with neighbouring countries and the international community. Atta hopes that China will participate more in the Afghan peace reconstruction process and play a greater role in Afghan reconstruction and economic development in the future. Atta will also make its own efforts to create a suitable investment environment.
Now reflect back to where Biden broke the treaty
The war was supposed to end on May 1, 2021and it would have if Trump had won his second term. He did not, Biden became President and Trump was out of the picture. Instead of it finishing on May 1 Biden extended the date to September, he then throws a spanner in that month and brings it forward to August.
Enter China on July 28, 2021.
This has China Joe Bidens sticky fingers all over this.
This my friends IS TREASON AT THE HIGHEST LEVEL. Not even Nixon did anything like this.
Now you know from my Analysis of the Military might of country’s surrounding Afghanistan four with nuclear weapons and with China and Russia both taking the place of the US and the UK in Afghanistan, I have to ask you a very simple question. Do you feel safe knowing that both those countries could affect the way things are going put nuclear weapons into the hands of one of the vilest regimes the Taliban that the world has ever seen, who would think nothing of detonating one anywhere in the world?
[ Sources: The World Bank | The International Institute for Strategic Studies | Pew Research Center | Hansard | House of Commons Library | The US Geological Survey ]Chinese inteligence]