Your article “Beyond the Lingo Barrier” was an interesting read with the writer discussing how the Afghanistan-China relationship will benefit Afghan children by teaching the Mandarin language at Kabul University. China is an economic giant in the making and has been striving to maintain healthy relations with South Asian countries.
Cultures and traditions do play a significant role in bringing two countries closer and cultural diplomacy will move the Sino-Afghan ties in a new direction. However, China’s interest to teach Mandarin in Afghanistan is a strategic decision and goes beyond the idea of maintaining cultural diplomacy. In reality, China is eyeing the nearly $1 trillion of unexploited mineral reserves in Afghanistan and China’s single track policy of non-interference has kept it in Afghanistan’s good books.
Analysts are of the view that China’s attempt to forge relations with Afghanistan may affect Pak-China ties. However, it is unlikely to happen as Pakistan and China have a brotherly bond that transcends all boundaries. China is also making heavy investments in Afghanistan as it wants to play an influential role in the war-torn country once the U.S. troops make their withdrawal in 2014. The writer aptly mentioned in the article that it would be wishful thinking for Afghan students to learn and understand the Chinese language and the project might not get underway. However, as the world is turning into a global village, the project just might become a success.
Ali Ahmed Kabul, Afghanistan