Following the withdrawal of American troops from Afghanistan, the Taliban is again resurgent, taking control of great swathes of the country. The speed at which Afghan security forces have lost control to the Taliban has shocked many, and led to concerns the capital Kabul could be next to fall.
The Islamist group is already planing for such a future, with a Taliban spokesman telling the Hong Kong-based South China Morning Post earlier this week that China was a "welcome friend," and conversations over reconstruction should begin "as soon as possible."
The possibility of the Chinese government cooperating with the Taliban in a post-US Afghanistan is not as unlikely as it may first appear. Afghanistan remains a key component in Beijing's long-term regional development plans. In May, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said Beijing was in discussions with Islamabad and Kabul to extend the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) to Afghanistan, including expanding transport and trade networks between the three countries.