The Taliban Will Govern Afghanistan. What Does the Future Hold for China and the Central Asian Region? - Silk Road Briefing (2023)

By Chris Devonshire-Ellis

Getting a stable government in place together with support and assistance could usher in a more reasonable Taliban 2.0 and truly redevelop the country. Much depends on China, Russia, and the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation.

The Taliban Will Govern Afghanistan. What Does the Future Hold for China and the Central Asian Region? - Silk Road Briefing (1)

Taliban Officials at the Presidential Palace in Kabul

With the announcement that the Taliban have overthrown the Afghanistan national government and are now about to declare an “Islamic State of Afghanistan” the question now becomes what happens next? And how will this impact on China and regional security? Could a Taliban government be the best available option?

(Video) Does Afghanistan have a future?

Who are the Taliban?

The Taliban, known in Afghanistan as theIslamic Emirate of Afghanistan(IEA), are a hardline Islamic group who previously ruled most of the country from 1996 to 2001.The Taliban have been condemned internationally for the harsh enforcement of their interpretation of IslamicSharialaw, which has resulted in the brutal treatment of many Afghans. During their incumbency as Government, they were recognized only by Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates, all of which have been covertly funding the organization.

The Taliban’s ideology has been described as combining an “innovative” form of sharia Islamic law based on Deobandi fundamentalism combined with militant Islam and Pashtun social and cultural norms. Past Deobandi philosophers have discussed the unity of Hindu’s, Christians, and Muslims, in addition to multiculturalism, however since the 1970’s has splintered into various factions – not all are militant and espouse violence. However, many were aligned with expelling the Soviet military out of Afghanistan in the late 1970’s and were provided with US weapons by Washington to weaken and distract the Soviet Union, events which eventually lead to its dissolving in 1992. Much of that weaponry was then used by now battle-hardened Islamic militants against US troops. The main goal of the Taliban has been to govern, while at the same time for much of the past 40 years it has been fighting what essentially amounts to a civil war to do so.

Crucially however, they are a regional tribal group made up of Pashtuns, an ethnic group from the South and West of Afghanistan, educated in Madrassas (Islamic schools) and whose background stems from their fighting (and being supported by the United States to do so) the Soviet armies in the 1980’s. Pashtuns make up about 48% of the total tribal demographics of Afghanistan and are its largest ethnic group. There are also Pashtun tribes in Pakistan and a smaller number in India. This tribal make-up of Afghanistan is the primary reason why a diplomatic rather than military solution to the issue needs to be found. However, tribal conflicts and differences remain and while the Taliban wish to control the entire country, the marginal majority are not Pashtun and prefer to see a proportionate government representing all fourteen major ethnic groups. The Taliban however claim authority over all Afghan Muslims – but not others, a crucial difference between them and Al-Qaeda.

The Al-Qaeda Issue

Al-Qaeda ideologues envision the removal of all foreign influences in Muslim countries and believe a Christian-Jewish alliance is conspiring to destroy Islam. It represents a more violent form of Islamic militancy than the Taliban, as being jihadists, they believe that killingcivilians and other Muslim sects is religiously sanctioned and wishes to take this fight to other countries. It also wishes to imposestrict forms ofsharia law. As a result of these doctrines,Al-Qaeda has carried out many attacks on people whom it considersenemies or non-Muslim andis also responsible for instigatingsectarian violence among Muslims.Following thedeath of Osama bin Laden in 2011, Al Qaedahas been led by EgyptianAyman al-Zawahiri. From2021 however it has reportedly suffered from a deterioration of central command over its regional operations, which more recently have concentrated on Egypt and African operations. Most Al-Qaeda members are not Afghans.

The Afghanistan Al-Qaeda issue is that in the past they have infiltrated the Taliban and been treated as ‘guests’ in the country. It was this arrangement that led to Al-Qaeda using Afghanistan as a base from which they launched numerous terrorist attacks worldwide including the 9-11 destruction of New Yorks World Trade Centre. It is understood there are Al-Qaeda groups operating in Afghanistan, although the Taliban have said they are not welcome. It is the potential of Al-Qaeda that worries the West, and it remains to be seen whether the Taliban, itself some politically and tribally fractured, can resist any interference from Al-Qaeda warlords. Al-Qaeda claim authority over all Muslims worldwide.

The Taliban Will Govern Afghanistan. What Does the Future Hold for China and the Central Asian Region? - Silk Road Briefing (2)

(Video) Gravitas Plus | Central Asia: New Global Turf War

Recognizing the Taliban as a legitimate Government

This process is also globally divisive and is likely to remain so, which will not be helpful in helping Afghanistan achieve any settled peace. Both Russia, with its strong military presence, and China have stated that there cannot be peace in Afghanistan without the diplomatic involvement of the Taliban. Representatives of the Taliban Government have met with both Russia and Chinese foreign Ministers, and it appears both countries will formally recognize the Taliban as the ruling Government. It can be expected that neighboring Pakistan will also do so, and possibly Turkey. Afghanistan’s bordering Governments of Iran, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan may in time also recognize the Taliban as the ruling authority if they can be persuaded the Taliban mean no harm. All these countries are part of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation whose Council of Foreign Ministers met in Dushanbe two weeks ago to discuss the Afghan issue.

What is becoming apparent however is that official recognition of a Taliban government may only be restricted to these countries, and perhaps Saudi Arabia and Qatar. The United States and United Kingdom, along with France and several other Western nations have stated they will not recognize the Taliban as the legitimate government in Afghanistan. The problem with this attitude is it evades reality – the Taliban are about to be in power, and it would be advantageous to provide support to them to enable a stable government to take shape. China and Russia both recognize this – the West does not. As a result, political decisions made in the West to delegitimize the Taliban will mean no financial or other support will be given to the country and no diplomatic contact will be made. This is extremely unhelpful when what is required, whether one likes the Taliban or not, is to establish an Afghani government with stability. In not doing so, the Western powers make the return of a group such as Al-Qaeda more, rather than less likely.

With the United States and NATO leaving Afghanistan, who will provide military support and security?

The responsibility for Afghanistan’s internal security will now fall on the Taliban, who appear to have ‘inherited’ large parts of the US-trained Afghan military in addition to large quantities of American military hardware, including items such as Black Hawk helicopters and a large arsenal of weaponry. Assimilating the Afghan military into Taliban governance will take time.

On a regional basis the security issueappears to now fall on the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation Security Council, which through its member states China, India, Iran, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Pakistan, Russia, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan possesses access to numerous military and airbases, and has been trained, mainly by Russia, to deal with terrorist and security matters. Crucially, this body did not exist 20 years ago at the time of the Al-Qaeda attacks in New York. Now it does and has been active in preparing for this eventuality. While Russia will take the military lead, it remains to be seen the extent to which the Chinese military will be involved.

Which Countries are keeping their Embassies open in Afghanistan?

So far, China, Pakistan, Russia, and Turkey have committed to keep their Embassies open and staff are there. They will be working with the Taliban to provide support and assistance to negotiate terms for a sustainable Government to be put into place.

The United States, United Kingdom and French, along with the incumbent Afghan President have either all fled Afghanistan and closed their missions or are about too. Some smaller nations have ‘relocated’ their Embassies, meaning that diplomatic channels remain open but are now based in a third country such as Uzbekistan. The United States now has no diplomatic contact with the Taliban.

(Video) Geopolitics of Central Asia | Prof. John Miglietta

The Taliban Will Govern Afghanistan. What Does the Future Hold for China and the Central Asian Region? - Silk Road Briefing (3)

US officials being evacuated from the US Embassy in Kabul. Despite the images being almost identical, the US Secretary of State dismissed any comparisons with the fall of Saigon at the end of the Vietnam War when US helicopters conducted the exact same operation.

What does the Taliban say it will do once in power?

The Taliban have said they want peace and stated early this morning from the Afghan Presidential Palace in Kabul that ‘The war is over’. A Taliban spokesman has also stated that the type of rule and its format ‘will be announced soon’. The Taliban have made various promising statements in recent weeks, such as that they do not intend to attack any other country, and that Taliban forces had been instructed “not to scare civilians and to allow them to resume normal activities”.

The question now is whether the Taliban, with assistance from the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation, can structure a viable government that will not wage war on its own people – as mentioned the Taliban are Pashtun’s, and have had conflicts with previous Afghani tribes – who make up 52% of the total Afghanistan demographic. In a sense, the Taliban are being given a second chance to govern following their failings 20 years ago. Whether they can manage this depends upon whether internal divisions with the Taliban, suppressed during the common goal of defeating the Western powers, can maintain stability or whether they will descend once again into factional fighting. The country is awash with weapons and any division of the Taliban into different groups will see a civil war erupt with devastating consequences.

If the Taliban can hold the peace, what does the future hold?

If the Taliban can hold together and construct a viable, long serving government, then the longer-term prognosis is better. The Taliban has already stated they intend to govern Afghanistan in a manner ‘that is good for Afghanistan’ although it remains to be seen how far this extends to extremist Islamic tendencies to please Allah, at the expense of commerce and trade. But there are encouraging signs. To maintain peace and in the likely event Western countries will shun their government, the Taliban need to raise funds. They can do this in several ways:

(Video) China Invests In Taliban's Afghanistan: A Friend In Need? | Insight | Full Episode

  • Import-Export & Customs Duties
  • The Taliban already hold all the land crossings with its neighboring states and can collect the applicable duties on imported goods. In 2020, imported goods into Afghanistan were worth an estimated US$6.537 billion with duty payable on these products.
  • VAT
  • Afghanistan passed laws in June that will see VAT at 10% come into effect from December 22, 2021. Assuming this happens, this will generate another source of fiscal income for the government.
  • Transit Fees
  • The Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (TAPI) gas pipeline is already operational and earns the Afghanistan government transit fees.

Each of these revenue sources are capable of being developed. If the Taliban can hold the peace, the economy will start to recover, consumer demand increase, and supply chains re-emerge. Imports and exports will improve, while several notable infrastructure projects are also at the development stage. These include extending rail connectivity from the Iran border (part of the INSTC network linking India with Iran and onto Russia via the Caspian Sea) through to Kabul.

Then there is the Trans-Afghan Railway which Afghanistan, Pakistan and Uzbekistan have agreed to. This route will run from Uzbekistan’s border with Afghanistan to Kabul, then head east to the Pakistan border near Peshawar before heading south to Pakistan’s seaports at Karachi and Gwadar. This gives both Afghanistan and Uzbekistan seaport access for the first time. The route itself has been operational via road, hauling goods from Gwadar to Kabul and can be expected to reopen once the situation in Kabul stabilizes. Rail connectivity would hugely boost volumes.

Afghanistan’s Mineral Resources

If the Taliban can hold together, and Afghanistan peace and security be maintained, then these projects can be expected to go ahead. Afghanistan will become part of China’s Belt and Road Initiative and become an effective extension of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC). China, for its part has stated it is prepared to invest billions into redeveloping and industrializing Afghanistan. That will mean the Taliban providing access to the estimated US$1 trillion worth of minerals that remain in the ground in the country and can be mined. In this respect, Afghanistan is not resource poor – it has significant mineral deposits, with hugeunexploited reserves of copper, coal, iron, gas, cobalt, mercury, gold, lithium, and thorium, valued at over US$1 trillion. Lithium is an important component in the next generation of electric batteries.

Easing of Sanctions

Afghanistan has faced extreme, US led sanctions on its economy, which have been upheld by the United Nations.Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov met a Taliban delegation last month in Moscow, where the Russian Foreign Ministry was given a request to ease sanctions upon them. That extended not just to Russia but a request that such a message was passed to the UN Security Council – of which Russia and China are full members.

There are mechanisms to lift sanctions on the Taliban – UNSecurity Council Resolution 2513 explicitly frames the possibility of lifting sanctions and pushing forward an Afghanistan peace process. These were passed last year and welcome aTaliban commitment to prevent any group or individual, including Al-Qaeda, from using the soil of Afghanistan to threaten the security of other countries.It also emphasizes the importance of the group’scommitment to participate in intra-Afghan negotiations with all sides to discuss and agree on a political settlement.In addition, the Security Councilresolutionopens the door to sanctions against the Taliban being dropped given the right circumstances and progress in peace talks, stating “Readiness upon the commencement of the intra-Afghan negotiations to consider the start of the review of the status of designations of individuals, groups, undertakings and entities on the list.” Interestingly, India is the current Chair of the UN sanctions committee as concerns Afghanistan until 2022.

What will happen next?

The Taliban will be sitting down with Afghanistan leaders as well as with diplomats from China, Russia, and the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation to look at how best to restructure the government, the economy and maintain peace. Western media and governments will be dismissive and unhelpful. The key issue now however is to put into place a sustainable government that does not fracture into differing tribal squabbles.

(Video) Ask the Analyst: China & Russia in Central Asia – a new Great Game?

The Chinese government have stated that “The Taliban are quietly transforming into a political organization focusing on the internal affairs of Afghanistan.” If true, and assuming a Taliban government can develop internal stability, then Afghanistan may yet be able to live up to its strategic potential in Central Asia – the first time it would have had such an opportunity since war first broke out in 1979.

Related Reading

  • China’s Belt and Road Initiative and the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation Have Key Roles To Play In Restructuring And Securing Afghanistan
  • The Afghanistan Belt And Road: China’s Opportunity Or A US Exited Death Trap?
About Us

Silk Road Briefing is written by Dezan Shira & Associates. The firm has 28 offices throughout Asia, and assists foreign investors into the region. For strategic advisory and business intelligence issues please contact the firm at or visit


Does China's Silk Road go through Afghanistan? ›

The fabled Silk Road has threaded through Afghanistan for centuries. Afghanistan's location, equidistant between the China Sea and the Mediterranean, made it a strategic ancient crossroads.

What is China's relationship with Taliban? ›

After the Taliban regained control of the country in 2021, China, like all other countries as of 2022, does not recognize the legitimacy of the reinstated Islamic Emirate and continues to recognize the Islamic Republic.

Who helped the Taliban rise to power? ›

The Taliban launched a surprise attack against Jalalabad in August 1996. Osama bin Laden may have supported with up to three million USD to buy off the remaining commanders on the way to Kabul. Other sources of funding may have included Saudi and Gulf individuals, local trucking mafia, heroin traders, and the ISI.

Is Afghanistan connected to China? ›

The Afghanistan–China border is a 76-kilometre-long (47 mi) boundary between Afghanistan and China, beginning at the tripoint of both countries with the Pakistan-administrated region of Kashmir (Gilgit-Baltistan), following the watershed along the Mustagh Range, and ending at the tripoint with Tajikistan.

Why did China destroy the Silk Road? ›

The speed of the sea transportation, the possibility to carry more goods, relative cheapness of transportation resulted in the decline of the Silk Road in the end of the 15th century.

What does China import from Afghanistan? ›

Afghanistan is not a major exporter to China, though China has imported some Afghan pine nuts and other goods in what it characterized as an effort to relieve the Afghan people's difficulties.

Who is holding out against the Taliban? ›

The current anti-Taliban movement is led by Ahmad Massoud — the son of legendary resistance leader Ahmed Shah Massoud, who was assassinated by al-Qaeda two days before the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on the United States — and former vice president Amrullah Saleh.

What does China export to Afghanistan? ›

Growth In September 2022, the increase in China's year-by-year exports to Afghanistan was explained primarily by an increase in product exports in Tea ($1.49M or 467%), Other Synthetic Fabrics ($1.36M or 113%), and Synthetic Fabrics ($1.07M or 521%).

Which countries support Taliban? ›

Pakistan was also one of only three countries, along with Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE), which recognised the Taliban when they were in power the first time round in Afghanistan.

What is the Taliban doing right now? ›

The Taliban returned to power in Afghanistan in 2021, twenty years after their ouster by U.S. troops. Under their harsh rule, they have cracked down on women's rights and neglected basic services.

Who trained the Taliban army? ›

Mullah Omar, the founder of the Taliban, was trained by the ISI during the war against the Soviets in the 1980s.

Who are the Taliban for students? ›

Taliban means “students” in Pashto (an official language of Afghanistan). When the group formed, most of its members were former students of Islamic religious schools. The Taliban is known for enforcing strict Islamic law and for its support of terrorism.

Which country is the best friend of Afghanistan? ›

And as many as 69 per cent Afghans chose India as their best friend. Sixty-nine per cent of Afghans have chosen India as Afghanistan's "best friend" country, according to a recent survey.

What separates China from Afghanistan? ›

The Wakhan Corridor (Pashto: واخان دهلېز, romanized: wāxān dahléz, Persian: دالان واخان, romanized: dâlân vâxân) is a narrow strip of territory in Afghanistan, extending to China and separating the Gorno-Badakhshan Autonomous Region of Tajikistan from the Gilgit-Baltistan region of Pakistan-administered Kashmir.

Who are Afghanistan's closest allies? ›

Islamic Republic of Afghanistan

It has continued to maintain close ties with North America, the European Union, South Korea, Japan, Australia, India, Pakistan, China, Russia and the Greater Middle East (most specifically Turkey), as well as African nations.

Is the Silk Road still active China? ›

Part of the Silk Road still exists, in the form of a paved highway connecting Pakistan and the Uygur Autonomous Region of Xinjiang, China.

What did China gain from the Silk Road? ›

Within the context of the Silk Roads, China has often been regarded as a country of export. However, throughout the history of these routes a number of goods have been introduced to China via the Silk Roads. These have included types of fruit, crops, herbs and spices as well as various medicines.

How does Silk Road affect us today? ›

How does the Silk Road affect us today? Many items we use every day would be unavailable to us if not for Silk Road trade. At its height during the Tang (tahng) Dynasty (618-907 CE), over 1,000 years ago, the Silk Road gave passage to raw materials and finished goods, but also to ideas, inventions, and religions.

Does China get oil from Afghanistan? ›

AMU DARYA, Afghanistan (Reuters) - A Chinese firm has started extracting oil from the Amu Darya basin in northern Afghanistan, mining officials said, a key moment in the country's quest to pay its own way.

Is Afghanistan lithium rich? ›

The lithium found in Afghanistan is a crucial component of large-capacity batteries for electric vehicles and clean-energy storage systems. Copper, nickel, cobalt, and rare earth elements are also found in Afghanistan, all of which are crucial to the energy transition.

Does China import anything from Russia? ›

In July, China imported $10 billion worth of goods from Russia, an increase of 49.3 percent from July 2021. China relies heavily on Russia for oil imports, with crude petroleum making up about 48.3 percent of total Russian imports to the country.

Who is the leader of Taliban right now? ›

We visited a Taliban leader's compound to examine his vision for Afghanistan. Mullah Mohammad Yaqoob Mujahid, a Taliban leader, is Afghanistan's interim defense minister.

Is there any resistance to the Taliban in Afghanistan? ›

The NRF exercised de facto control over the Panjshir Valley, which is largely contiguous with Panjshir Province and, as of August 2021, was "the only region out of the Taliban's hands." The alliance constitutes the only organized resistance to the Taliban in the country, and is possibly planning an anti-Taliban ...

Who killed the leader of the Taliban? ›

On 31 July, a U.S. drone strike killed al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri in the Afghan capital Kabul. Zawahiri appears to have been living in a house maintained by the family of powerful Taliban Interior Minister Sirajuddin Haqqani.

What goods do we get from Afghanistan? ›

U.S. total imports of agricultural products from Afghanistan totaled $5 million in 2019. Leading categories include: processed fruit & vegetables ($4 million), spices ($504 thousand), tree nuts ($236 thousand), snack foods ($32 thousand), and tea, including herbal ($26 thousand).

Does US import anything from Afghanistan? ›

Overview In August 2022, United States exported $2.08M and imported $1.34M from Afghanistan, resulting in a positive trade balance of $739k.

What does Afghanistan produce for the world? ›

The major industrial crops are: cotton, tobacco, madder, castor beans, and sugar beets. Sheep farming is also extremely valuable. The major sheep product exports are wool, and highly prized Karakul skins. Afghanistan is a land that is rich in natural resources.

What is Taliban's goal? ›

But despite the Taliban's sympathy toward non-Afghan jihadists, their primary goal has long been establishing a single pan-Islamic state in Afghanistan.

Did NATO invade Afghanistan? ›

NATO Allies went into Afghanistan after the 9/11 terrorist attacks on the United States, to ensure that the country would not again become a safe haven for international terrorists to attack NATO member countries.

Is Afghanistan part of NATO? ›

Nearly two decades of Allied and partner efforts in Afghanistan under the NATO banner came to an end in 2021.

How does the Taliban treat females? ›

Despite initial promises that women would be allowed to exercise their rights within Sharia law—including the right to work and to study—the Taliban has systematically excluded women and girls from public life.

Can girls go to school in Afghanistan? ›

After the Taliban returned to power in August 2021, they shut down schools for girls over 6th grade, effectively barring women from getting an education.

Who won Afghanistan war? ›

The nearly 20-year-long conflict ultimately ended with the 2021 Taliban offensive, which overthrew the Islamic Republic, and re-established the Islamic Emirate. It was the longest war in the military history of the United States, surpassing the length of the Vietnam War (1955–1975) by approximately six months.

How strong is the Taliban army now? ›

The Taliban's strength is even harder to measure. According to the US Combating Terrorism Center at West Point, estimates suggest a core strength of 60,000 fighters. With the addition of other militia groups and supporters, that number could exceed 200,000.

Is Afghanistan Army Strong? ›

For 2022, Afghanistan is ranked 118 of 142 out of the countries considered for the annual GFP review.

Why can't Taliban girls attend school? ›

25, 2021. Schools in Afghanistan are closed to girls beyond sixth grade. The Taliban have portrayed their leader's ban on secondary education for Afghan women and girls as based in religious principles, but Muslim scholars and activists say gender-based denial of education has no religious justification.

Why are girls not allowed to go to school in Afghanistan? ›

An estimated 3.7 million children are out-of-school in Afghanistan – 60% of them are girls. The underlining reasons for low girls' enrolment is insecurity and traditional norms and practices related to girls' and women's role in the society.

Why does Taliban mean student? ›

The movement's founding nucleus—the word “Taliban” is Pashto for “students”—was composed of peasant farmers and men studying Islam in Afghan and Pakistani madrasas, or religious schools. The Taliban found a foothold and consolidated their strength in southern Afghanistan.

Is Afghanistan a beautiful country? ›

Afghanistan is a country with a rich history, and it is located at the crossroads of multiple cultures and people. Although many people in the world connect this country with war, terrorism, and political turmoil, it is home to beautiful locations and architecture.

Who is India's bestfriend? ›

There is not a single country to be said as the best friend of India. There are some countries which evaluated to be closest to India like Russia, Israel, Bhutan, Bangladesh, and the United States.
  • USA. USA has always been one of India's closest allies . ...
  • Japan. ...
  • Israel. ...
  • Afghanistan. ...
  • Bhutan. ...
  • Russia. ...
  • Myanmar. ...
  • The Maldives.

Is Afghanistan a peaceful country? ›

According to the Global Peace Index 2022, Afghanistan was the least peaceful country in the world with an index value of 3.55. Yemen was ranked second, with an index value of 3.39.

How many countries are separated from China? ›

China is bordered by 14 countries: Afghanistan, Bhutan, India, Kazakhstan, North Korea, Kyrgyzstan, Laos, Mongolia, Myanmar (Burma), Nepal, Pakistan, Russia, Tajikistan, and Vietnam. Furthermore it shares maritime borders with Brunei, Indonesia, Japan, South Korea, Malaysia, the Philippines, and Taiwan.

Does Afghanistan have oil? ›

With hydrocarbon-rich Iran and Turkmenistan to its west, Afghanistan harbours around 1.6 billion barrels of crude oil, 16 trillion cubic feet of natural gas and another 500 million barrels of natural gas liquids.

Is Afghanistan a Chinese ally? ›

Since the United States invasion initiating the War in Afghanistan, Chinese political involvement initially has been somewhat limited, but trade relations have still been continuing with China as Afghanistan's largest trading partner and China giving Afghanistan millions of dollars in aid throughout the war.

Why is Afghanistan important to the world? ›

Afghanistan also served as the source from which the Greco-Bactrians and the Mughals, among others, rose to form major empires. The various conquests and periods in both the Iranian and Indian cultural spheres made the area a center for Zoroastrianism, Buddhism, Hinduism, and later Islam throughout history.

Why is America interested in Afghanistan? ›

Our only vital national interest in Afghanistan remains today what it has always been: preventing a terrorist attack on American homeland. I've argued for many years that our mission should be narrowly focused on counterterrorism — not counterinsurgency or nation building.

What countries does the new Silk Road go through? ›

Countries in Central Asia such as Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, and Turkmenistan are just across the border from China. They are closely connected with China's economy. Middle-eastern countries such as Iran, Iraq, Jordan, Syria, Saudi Arabia, and Turkey mainly trade oil and gas.

What countries did the Silk Road go through? ›

The Silk Road routes stretched from China through India, Asia Minor, up throughout Mesopotamia, to Egypt, the African continent, Greece, Rome, and Britain.

Which countries do the Silk Roads run through? ›

The Silk Road began in north-central China in Xi'an (in modern Shaanxi province). A caravan track stretched west along the Great Wall of China, across the Pamirs, through Afghanistan, and into the Levant and Anatolia.

Is Afghanistan a trade route? ›

Afghanistan is at the centre of a number of trade routes linking Europe and countries of the Middle and Far East, including China's Belt and Road Initiative (BRI).

Is China part of the Silk Road? ›

The Silk Road was a network of trade routes connecting China and the Far East with the Middle East and Europe.

How did China benefit from the Silk Road? ›

The Silk Road served not only as route for exporting goods such as silk, spices, precious metals, minerals handicrafts, architecture and paintings but also transmitted cultural exchange including theatric performance, dance and music art. The Great Silk Road played moreover a major role in dissemination of religions.

Does anything like the Silk Road exist today? ›

Some imitate the Silk Road, while others find ways to innovate. Darknet markets will exist as long as there remains supply and demand for illicit goods. Here are some of the biggest darknet marketplaces today: AlphaBay: Taken down in 2017 during Operation Bayonet, AlphaBay was re-launched in 2021.

Can you travel the Silk Road? ›

2) You can safely travel the Silk Road.

(Do note that these were mostly people who had never traveled far from their home before.) Here is what I found: people tend to look at a map and assume that, because these countries are close to “the Middle East,” it it is not safe to visit them.

Who blocked the Silk Road? ›

The Silk Road is neither an actual road nor a single route. The term instead refers to a network of routes used by traders for more than 1,500 years, from when the Han dynasty of China opened trade in 130 B.C.E. until 1453 C.E., when the Ottoman Empire closed off trade with the West.

Why is the Silk Road so important? ›

Why was the Silk Road important? The Silk Road was important because it helped to generate trade and commerce between a number of different kingdoms and empires. This helped for ideas, culture, inventions, and unique products to spread across much of the settled world.

Does the Silk Road go through Russia? ›

Russia, within its contemporary political boundaries, is connected to the northern branch of the Silk Roads, in close proximity to what is known as the “Eurasian steppe corridor”, stretching from Lake Baikal to Lake Balaton.

Does the Silk Road still exist? ›

Ever since Ross Ulbricht's revolutionary site Silk Road shuttered in 2013, there have been no shortage of similar marketplaces willing to fill the void — yet none have managed to maintain the level of trust that the original darknet bizarre did.

Who is Afghanistan's biggest trading partner? ›

Afghanistan usually trades with its neighbours, with Pakistan being its major trade partner. Pakistan, along with India, receive around 75% of Afghan exports, followed by the United Arab Emirates, China and Turkey. Iran is the main supplier of goods in Afghanistan, followed by China, Pakistan and Kazakhstan.


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5. Silk Roads 058 A New History of the World by Peter Frankopan Audio/Video Book Session 058
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