Afghanistan and the belt and road initiative

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


This chapter has a twofold objective: to understand how China’s cooperation with Afghanistan has served the purposes of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) and to assess the role played by Afghanistan in the implementation of that project. The study is carried out in three domains-political and diplomatic, economic and security. In the political and diplomatic, we examine the evolution of China’s bilateral and multilateral diplomatic initiatives with or involving Afghanistan, underlining their economic and security implications. Attention is paid to China’s diplomatic efforts to find a political solution for the conflict in Afghanistan. In the economic, we study the evolution of the relations between both countries along three topics-aid and development financing, bilateral trade and investment in natural resources. The security domain is studied along two aspects: the regional impact of Afghanistan’s insecurity, namely in the security situation along the two BRI corridors that go around Afghanistan, and in Central Asia and China Islamist movements; and China’s competition with the United States in Central Asia. The evolution of the cooperation in those three domains comprises the analysis of its impact on BRI, and the identification of noticeable changes of strategy after the announcement of BRI by President Xi Jinping, in 2013. We argue that Sino-Afghan cooperation, beneficial for both countries, has not been oriented to the implementation of BRI. Despite the importance that BRI might have for the economic development of Afghanistan through investment in transportation, energy and telecommunications infrastructure and in its regional integration, China has not assigned to Afghanistan a relevant role within the framework of BRI, a project where Afghanistan plays a marginal and subsidiary role.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Belt and Road Initiative
Subtitle of host publicationAn Old Archetype of a New Development Model
EditorsFrancisco B. S. José Leandro, Paulo Afronso B. Duarte
PublisherPalgrave Macmillan
Number of pages34
ISBN (Electronic)978-981-15-2564-3
ISBN (Print)978-981-15-2563-6
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2020


  • Afghanistan
  • Belt and road initiative
  • Central Asia
  • China

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