China is worried that its Muslim population could get radicalised through the Afghanistan-Pakistan border and is in talks with Pakistan to ensure there is no infiltration from Afghanistan, a former US diplomat has said.
“The Chinese are worried about radicalisation of their Muslim population, primarily the Uighurs, that can flow through Afghanistan and Pakistan,” Ryan Croker, the former US Ambassador to both Afghanistan and Pakistan, told members of the Senate Armed Services Committee during a Congressional hearing.
China has a very close relationship with Pakistan, he said.
“I understand — I’m not sure how valid it is — that the Chinese are now beginning to use that relationship with Pakistan to get the Pakistanis to ensure that there is not infiltration from Afghanistan through Pakistan up into western China,” Croker said in response to a question.
He said the Chinese have substantial economic interests in Afghanistan in the mineral sector.
“If they are reaping the benefits, they need to step up to help the state ensure security,” Crocker said.
“I understand they are now looking at police training. I’m not sure that is the model I would uphold for the world’s police forces necessarily, but to the extent it suggests that the Chinese are now engaged in trying to support a viable and stable Afghanistan then I think it gives us something to work with,” he said.