China is Building a ‘New Silk Road’ in Afghanistan

Afghan President Hamid Karzai meeting Chinese President Hu Jintao

Mark Ralston/AP

AA Font size + Print

Afghan President Hamid Karzai meeting Chinese President Hu Jintao

Meanwhile, the Pentagon and State Department's plans for a similar transportation network remains in the idea phase. By Steve LeVine

For two years, the US State Department and the Pentagon have been incubating a plan to win the Afghan war without actually defeating the Taliban on the battleground. The idea is to triumph commercially by building a “New Silk Road”—a transportation-and-energy route to the West whose long-term financial dividends would prompt combatants to set aside their arms and get rich instead.

Now China is stepping up an apparent effort to outpace the US plan to reconstruct the ancient trade route.

The US idea is a network of roads, electric grids, rail, energy pipelines, and assorted commercial ventures along a channel leading from Afghanistan to the world at large. It would end up in Europe–ignoring China, Russia and Iran, the region’s biggest and most geopolitically assertive players.

Beijing’s less-ambitious version, by contrast, goes east, into China. It does not have a name, but it does appear to be actually materializing. The most recent development is talks between the China National Petroleum Corporation and the Afghan government for rights to drill for natural gas in a large tract south of Turkmenistan. CNPC appears to be in a leading position to win the rights, according to people familiar with the situation.

Read more at Quartz

Close [ x ] More from DefenseOne

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from
We think these reports might interest you:

  • Software-Defined Networking

    So many demands are being placed on federal information technology networks, which must handle vast amounts of data, accommodate voice and video, and cope with a multitude of highly connected devices while keeping government information secure from cyber threats. This issue brief discusses the state of SDN in the federal government and the path forward.

  • Military Readiness: Ensuring Readiness with Analytic Insight

    To determine military readiness, decision makers in defense organizations must develop an understanding of complex inter-relationships among readiness variables. For example, how will an anticipated change in a readiness input really impact readiness at the unit level and, equally important, how will it impact readiness outside of the unit? Learn how to form a more sophisticated and accurate understanding of readiness and make decisions in a timely and cost-effective manner.

  • Cyber Risk Report: Cybercrime Trends from 2016

    In our first half 2016 cyber trends report, SurfWatch Labs threat intelligence analysts noted one key theme – the interconnected nature of cybercrime – and the second half of the year saw organizations continuing to struggle with that reality. The number of potential cyber threats, the pool of already compromised information, and the ease of finding increasingly sophisticated cybercriminal tools continued to snowball throughout the year.

  • A New Security Architecture for Federal Networks

    Federal government networks are under constant attack, and the number of those attacks is increasing. This issue brief discusses today's threats and a new model for the future.

  • Information Operations: Retaking the High Ground

    Today's threats are fluent in rapidly evolving areas of the Internet, especially social media. Learn how military organizations can secure an advantage in this developing arena.


When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.