The Chinese foreign minister receives a representative of the Taliban.

The Russian defense minister announced that Moscow would increase the "combat potential" of its bases in Central Asia.

The activities of China and Russia are the direct consequences of the withdrawal of Western troops from Afghanistan.

Beijing and Moscow took note of the strategic defeat of the Americans and their allies with satisfaction.

In the long run, however, Schadenfreude will not be enough, because China shares a land border with Afghanistan.

And Russia sees itself at risk if the Islamists are back in power in Kabul and, if necessary, further destabilize the fragile states in Central Asia.

Promise and distrust

The Taliban promise that they pose no threat to other countries. But China would not be China if it simply believed such promises.

And the leadership in Beijing would do well to maintain a fair amount of suspicion.

It will be exciting to see whether in the medium term either China or, for example, India will be tempted to influence developments in Afghanistan. The country is quite interesting from an economic point of view. On the other hand, almost every power of concern in the Hindu Kush has burned its fingers to an extent that does not invite imitation.