For China, Taliban rule in Afghanistan brings both opportunity and risk

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BEIJING — In public, China has crowed over the U.S.’s embarrassing exit from Afghanistan, with officials saying the chaos highlighted America’s diminished standing on the world stage.

A Foreign Ministry spokeswoman cited the tragic death of Zaki Anwari, a teenage soccer star who fell to his death as he tried to cling to the landing gear of a departing American C-17.

“American myth down,” the spokeswoman, Hua Chunying, said Aug. 20. “More and more people are awakening.”

Hua Chunying, a Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman, has highlighted the chaos of the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan.Tingshu Wang / Reuters

In private, however, Beijing is more circumspect about its rival’s departure. While its main concern is security amid worries that Afghanistan under the Taliban will again become fertile ground for extremist groups, now Beijing may also have to face a U.S. freer to focus on its main rival: China. There is also the risk of getting…

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