China’s Great Game in Afghanistan

China greeted America’s chaotic retreat from Afghanistan and the Taliban seizure of power with a mixture of glee and trepidation. Its well-oiled propaganda machine has revelled in the fall of Kabul, but Beijing is fretting over the threat of instability on its doorstep – and there is a very real possibility that China will become next power sucked into the ‘graveyard of empires’. The humbling of the United States in Afghanistan fits nicely into the Chinese narrative of American decline, but Beijing has also used the withdrawal to pile pressure on Taiwan, warning the self-governing democratic island that Washington is an unreliable ally. ‘Afghanistan today, Taiwan tomorrow,’ ran a headline