For several years, the US has been trying to convince China it needs to be more involved in maintaining stability in Afghanistan, which is attached to the far western Chinese border by a narrow strip of land. Understandably, the Chinese response so far has mostly been along the lines of: "You broke it so now you own it." China’s leaders are well aware of Afghanistan’s reputation as the graveyard of empires — from Alexander the Great to Great Britain, the Soviet Union and now the US. But Beijing’s traditional reluctance to get bogged down in an unwinnable foreign war may now be starting to fade. Reports have emerged in recent weeks of Chinese troop carriers operating in the Afghan border region adjacent to the autonomous region of Xinjiang, where the Muslim Uighur population bristles under Chinese rule. Chinese authorities have denied that the People’s Liberation Army is operating in Afghanistan, but acknowledged that "law enforcement authorities of the two sides have conducted joint...

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