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China has been sending aid to Afghanistan, which is on the brink of a humanitarian crisis, since the withdrawal of U.S. troops last August.    © Xinhua/Kyodo
The Big Story

Too big to fail: China eyes Afghanistan investment amid fears of state collapse

Allies China and Pakistan keen to maintain regional stability after U.S. withdrawal

BETSY JOLES, Contributing writer | Afghanistan

LAHORE, Pakistan -- Since rolling into Kabul in August and cementing control over the rest of Afghanistan, the Taliban have been in a frenetic round of diplomatic talks to end the country's economic and political isolation.

U.S. and Western sanctions have destroyed the economy, which, combined with a drought, has plunged parts of the country into near starvation in the midst of winter. The Taliban have placed their hopes of salvation on Pakistan, which has supported the movement since its origin in the 1990s, and on China, which has long-standing ties to Pakistan and an ambiguous, transactional relationship with whichever government reigns in Kabul.

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