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US retreat from Afghanistan threatens China and Russia

Beijing and Moscow fear extremists flooding into Central Asia as Taliban return

Russian President Vladimir Putin and Chinese President Xi Jinping. Both nations fear that Taliban rule in Afghanistan could lead to a resurgence of Muslim extremists in the region, fueling terrorism and separatist movements. (Nikkei montage/AP)

TOKYO -- A U.S. defeat in war should be good news for China and Russia, considering that any blow to American prestige and leadership is a win for its main strategic rivals.

And such a blow is precisely what has happened in Afghanistan. As the Taliban seized Kabul, the Afghan capital, after taking control of other major cities, they declared victory over the U.S. in the 20-year war across the landlocked country perched at the crossroads of Central and South Asia.

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