As Jamestown Foundation highlighted in two recent reports on Islamic State group (IS) propaganda, China and Chinese interests in Afghanistan have come increasingly under attack. While in November 2022, a more general sweep against “Chinese imperialism” in Afghanistan and elsewhere had been noted (Jamestown Foundation, 18 November 2022), a successful December attack against a hotel in Kabul triggered a wave of anti-Chinese jihadist propaganda in January 2023 (Jamestown Foundation, 6 January 2023).
World Watch Research analyst Thomas Muller explains: “The 12 December 2022 attack against a hotel which was popular with Chinese nationals not only forms part of a series of embarrassing attacks against foreign targets in central Kabul, countering any Taliban claims that ISKP does not pose any threat, it also led the Chinese Foreign Ministry to recommend its citizens and organizations to leave the country (Reuters, 13 December 2022). This is a blow for the Taliban in its effort to bring stability to the country, especially since China was seen as being a potential investor and anchor for stability in the country, at a time when Western countries have been holding back from engagement with the Taliban government.”
Thomas Muller continues: “This is also bad news for the religious minorities in the country. Not only will they continue to suffer with their fellow citizens from the dire economic situation Afghanistan is in, they will also suffer, in particular, from stability becoming ever more elusive. At the same time, the Taliban has continued to show that Islamist ideology has little respect for the needs of the Afghan people after women were (partly) banned from working for NGOs in December 2022. This led some NGOs to suspend their programs, since this ban effectively stopped all projects aimed at helping women and children (CNN, 26 December 2022). It also wiped out income many families were depending on, and so added to an ever worsening economic and social situation.”