'Graveyard of empires': Taliban turn US copter into swing, Chinese official shares video
A China government official has shared a video of Taliban fighters swinging from what seems like a defunct copter. "The graveyard of EMPIRES and their WAR MACHINES. Talibans (sic) have turned their planes into swings and toys....." Lijian Zhao, an official of China's foreign ministry, wrote tweeting the video.
The withdrawal of the US troops ending the 20-year-old deployment has opened up a great opportunity in front of China in the region, experts have said explaining why China is warming up to the Taliban.
A day after the Taliban announced their interim government, China termed this as an 'end of anarchy; and announced USD 31 million aid to Afghanistan. This was the first aid announcement from China after the Taliban seized power. The Taliban too termed China as their most important partner.
Before Afghanistan fell to the Taliban, a delegation of the Taliban, led by Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, now the deputy head of the new government, met China's foreign minister Wang Yi in Tianjin. The Taliban are an important military and political force in Afghanistan, Wang Yi said at that time.
After August 15, China has indicated that it is willing to cooperate with the Taliban. Experts said China has the Bagram airfield in its mind. The Chinese military is currently conducting a feasibility study about the effect of sending workers, soldiers and other staff related to its foreign economic investment programme known as the Belt and Road Initiative in the coming years to Bagram, reports said. Bagram is an ex-American airbase, which China now wants to take over, reports said.
Following the exit of teh US troops, several videos of the Taliban trying to manoeuvre the equipment have surfaced on social media. One such video of a US plane running at Kandahar airport raised questions about whether the Taliban have pilots. But a Chinese official sharing the video adds much significance to the narrative.