Will the Taliban deliver up Bagram Airbase to China or the US for CT operations?

On Friday, the Taliban cabinet will meet to debate the crucial topic. The Sunni Pashtun faction is considering giving over the Bagram airbase in Afghanistan to a third party for counter-terrorism operations against organizations like the ISKP.

With a growing number of international terrorist groups operating out of Afghanistan, the Taliban cabinet will meet on Friday to discuss whether the Bagram airbase, north of Kabul, could be handed over to a third country in exchange for assisting Sunni Pashtun Islamists in launching counter-terrorism operations in the country. The two countries in question are Pakistan-backed China and the United States, which vacated the airfield after two decades of operations on July 5, 2021.

The power struggle within the Taliban government between defense minister Mullah Yaqoob on one side and Pakistan ISI-backed interior minister and global terrorist Sirajuddin Haqqani on the other has resulted in total chaos in governance, as a result of which terrorist groups have honed their operations in Afghanistan. Because of this evolving scenario, Pakistan army head Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa and outgoing ISI chief Lt Gen Faiz Hameed had a disagreement, with the former believing that there would be a massive Islamic fallout on Pakistan. While Pakistan's Prime Minister Imran Khan and the Director-General of the ISI gloated over the Taliban's occupation of Kabul.

Currently, the United States is concerned about al Qaeda, the Haqqani Network, whose leader runs the Taliban government, and the so-called Islamic State of Khorasan Province expanding their numbers in Afghanistan and spreading terror to the west, while China is concerned about three terrorist groups operating in the Af-Pak region that have taken explicitly anti-Beijing positions and followed through with violence. India-based terrorist organizations such as Jaish-e-Mohammed and Lashkar-e-Taiba, who have ideological ties to the Taliban through Deobandi and Ahle-Hadith platforms, have begun to use Afghanistan to launch operations across the Radcliffe Line.

While China has decided to establish a new military base in Tajikistan to monitor the Wakhan corridor, which runs through the restive Xinjiang province, it is courting the Taliban regime through Pakistan to ensure that Uighur terrorists do not launch attacks against the Xi Jinping regime from Afghanistan. China is concerned about three terrorist groups, even for the sake of the Belt and Road Initiative's safety. They are as follows:

Balochistan Liberation Army: Three suicide bombers attacked the Chinese consulate in Karachi in 2018/

Tehreek-e-Taliban, Pakistan: An offshoot of the Taliban, they claimed responsibility for a vehicle bomb explosion in Balochistan's capital city in April 2021, near a hotel where the Chinese envoy to Pakistan was scheduled to stay. The bomb went off just as the ambassador was about to arrive.

ISKP: An offshoot of ISIS, the rabid Sunni group has begun to attack the Chinese, if not with bombs, then with propaganda.

Not only China but also Central Asian republics, are concerned about the security situation in Afghanistan, where terrorist groups such as the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan and the East Turkestan Independence Movement have established bases.

With the Biden administration now officially confirming Al Qaeda's existence in Afghanistan, the Taliban rule lacks the much-needed air force to combat these terrorist groups, since no one can afford another extended field conflict.

In these conditions, the Taliban is considering handing over Bagram Airbase in Afghanistan to a third power for counter-terrorism operations. While Pakistan wants the Taliban to hand up the important facility in Parwan province to China for monitoring, some Taliban members oppose Beijing and would rather hand it back to the US. Because the Central Asian Republics have refused the US base facilities for over-the-horizon capabilities, and Pakistan is still negotiating with the Biden administration on this matter, the possibility of the US conducting CT operations from the Bagram base cannot be ruled out.