Thursday, September 29, 2022

Taliban seize power in Afghanistan: How to secure Wakhan corridor?

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Amid the escalating crisis in Afghanistan, the geological considerations in South Asia have become more important than ever. The focus is particularly on the lesser-known Wakhan corridor, in view of India’s border tensions with China. Even before the Covid-19 pandemic began, China conducted joint military drills with Tajikistan at the Wakhan corridor.

Where is Wakhan corridor?

A narrow strip of territory in Afghanistan extending up to China’s Xinjiang region, The Wakhan corridor separates Tajikistan from Pakistan. The corridor was formed by an 1893 agreement between the British India and Afghanistan, thereby creating the Durand line and a buffer zone between Russian and the British empire.

Significance of Wakhan Corridor

The Wakhan Corridor has been largely untouched over the years. Even though the government of Afghanistan asked China to open the border in the Wakhan corridor several times for economic reasons and an alternative supply route for fighting Taliban insurgency, China kept denying the requests. It was largely due to the unrest in Xinjiang. However, the location of Wakhan corridor is crucial for China-Pakistan Economic Corridor and its belt and road initiative.

What About Wakhan Corridor Post Taliban Takeover?

After Taliban’s Takeover over Afghanistan and the Wakhan corridor, China is hoping to build friendly relations with Taliban. If China manages to gain control of the corridor, it would also be able to capture the route and control the activity of Uyghur Muslims opposed to Chinese rule in Xinjiang. Since India shares a boundary of about 106 km with Afghanistan at the Wakhan corridor, it should be wary of China’s advances and not let China make any advances in this territory.

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