Report: China to Build Military Base on Tajik Border with Afghanistan

Report: China to Build Military Base on Tajik Border with Afghanistan

Lawmakers in Tajikistan announced on Wednesday that China would build a new military base on the nation’s border with Afghanistan worth $10 million.

The Tajik officials claimed the base would belong to Tajikistan, not China, and house Tajik troops, though China would build and fund the venture. The announcement follows years of speculation that China has operated a base in the country in secret, apparently confirmed by a Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL) report this week citing leaked diplomatic exchanges.

Tajikistan has endured some of the most severe repercussions of the Taliban jihadist group’s seizure of Afghanistan in the past year, including a flood of hundreds of Afghan soldiers fleeing the country this summer as the federal government collapsed. Tajikistan held its largest-ever military exercises this year shortly before the Taliban prompted former Afghan President Ashraf Ghani to flee the country.

While Tajikistan has expressed alarm at the rise of the Taliban, the Communist Party of China has extended support to the terrorist organization. Foreign Minister Wang Yi met with senior Taliban officials on Monday and agreed to a variety of trade deals allowing the jihadists to export marble, pistachios, and other native goods into the Chinese market.

No nation, including Tajikistan and China, has recognized the Taliban officially as the formal government of Afghanistan.

The lower chamber of Tajikistan’s parliament confirmed on Wednesday that the Chinese Ministry of Public Security would “construct and outfit the facility for Tajikistan’s special rapid deployment police unit” on the Tajik-Afghan border,” the Tajik news network Asia Plus reported. The official confirming the project, First Deputy Minister of Internal Affairs Abdurahmon Alamshozoda, admitted that Tajikistan would not have control of the site until China completed the “outfitting” of the military base, but emphasized that it would be a Tajik, and not Chinese, outpost once completed.

Asia Plus reported officials estimated China would spend $10 million on building the base.

Frances Martel