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Graham Perry
Graham Perry
Experienced Arbitration Lawyer | China & Chinese Business Affairs | Public Speaker/Lecturer.


At first sight, the US withdrawal from Afghanistan seems the right thing to do. In justification, Biden said 8 July 2021 that “We did not go to Afghanistan to nation-build…no nation has ever unified Afghanistan…I will not send another generation of Americans to war in Afghanistan with no reasonable expectation of achieving it.” Alongside the US, the UK also withdrew its forces citing similar reasons. But is this the whole story?

There is a geopolitical setting to Biden’s decision. Afghanistan shares a border with Xinjiang which has been the focus of genocide allegations against China. At present Xinjiang is peaceful and China was successful in confronting and overcoming Islamic fundamentalists who sought to turn China’s Autonomous Region into an independent state. The conflict was bloody with loss of life. No genocide, just a full-frontal attack on the fundamentalists who share common cause with the Islamic terrorists who set off bombs in the UK’s Manchester Arena causing serious loss of life.

Additionally, Xinjiang and the Silk Road are at the heart of China’s Belt and Road Initiative which offers the world a new development partnership based on a Win-Win philosophy.

There is another development that needs to be borne in mind. The East Turkestan Independence Movement [ETIM] is a political movement that seeks independence from China of East Turkestan as a homeland for the Uyghur people. Until a year ago ETIM was designated by the US as a “terrorist organisation”. Now ETIM has been removed from the US terrorist list. Why? Has ETIM changed or is just waiting for the moment to strike at China?

The world remains unstable – in Afghanistan, in the South China Sea and in the Middle East. There is an over-arching political link, and developments in Afghanistan should concern us all.

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