February 18, 2019

In Central Asia’s forbidding highlands, a quiet newcomer: Chinese troops

Featuring Ely Ratner

Source: The Washington Post

Journalist Gerry Shih

Two miles above sea level in the inhospitable highlands of Central Asia, there’s a new power watching over an old passage into Afghanistan: China.

For at least three years, Chinese troops have quietly monitored this choke point in Tajikistan just beyond China’s western frontier, according to interviews, analysis of satellite images and photographs, and firsthand observations by a Washington Post journalist.

While veiled in secrecy, the outpost of about two dozen buildings and lookout towers illustrates how the footprint of Chinese hard power has been expanding alongside the country’s swelling economic reach.

Tajikistan — awash in Chinese investment — joins the list of Chinese military sites that includes Djibouti in the strategic Horn of Africa and man-made islands in the South China Sea, in the heart of Southeast Asia.

Read the full article and more in The Washington Post.

  • Ely Ratner

    Executive Vice President and Director of Studies

    Ely Ratner is the Executive Vice President and Director of Studies at the Center for a New American Security (CNAS), where he is a member of the executive team and responsible...