A military base for the Afghan armed forces is being built in the Afghan northern province of Badakhshan, representative of the Afghan Defense Ministry, General Dawlat Waziri, was quoted as saying by Ferghana news agency on January 3.

According to him, the base is being built under financial support of China.

The plans for the new base were reportedly worked out during a visit of an Afghan defense delegation to Beijing.  Afghan Defense Tariq Shah Bahrami reportedly discussed cooperation issues with his Chinese counterpart Chang Wanquan and other Chinese military officials.  

China will supply everything the base needs, Dawlat Waziri was quoted as saying.   

Meanwhile, a representative of the Afghan Defense Ministry official told Fergana news agency on condition of anonymity that “China worries that Chinese Uighurs among the terrorists' ranks can cross into Chinese territory through Afghanistan and become a headache for the Chinese authorities.” 

EurasiaNet.org reports that this has important implications for Central Asia, because Tajikistan appears to be an integral part of Chinese-Afghan military cooperation. Badakhshan shares a short (76-kilometer) border with China, but in a region impassable by vehicles.

Badakhshan is most easily reached from China via Tajikistan's Gorno Badakhshan Autonomous Region (GBAO), and some media have reported that Chinese military vehicles were using Tajikistan territory to transit to Afghan Badakhshan for military patrols.  According to EurasiaNet.org, a western diplomat in Central Asia says those reports were credible.

EurasiaNet.org says a Chinese official, speaking on condition of anonymity, told Kabul-based analyst Franz J. Marty a year ago that the Chinese patrols inside Afghanistan had ended in late 2016.

It's not clear whether those patrols were ever restarted, but this base, if realized, would seem to portend much heavier traffic in the future, EurasiaNet.org added.

Recall, Tajikistan and China on October 1, 2015 signed a government-to-government agreement between Tajikistan and China on construction of a number of frontier posts along Tajikistan’s common border with Afghanistan.

Under this agreement, China finances and builds ten frontier outposts of various sizes along the Tajik-Afghan border and one training center for Tajik border troops.  

Tajikistan’s 1,345-kilometer common border with Afghanistan is a major concern for Dushanbe, as Afghan drug smugglers regularly clash with Tajik border guards and Afghan Taliban militants increase their activities along the border.