Afghan President Hamid Karzai is in China to attend the Shanghai Co-operation Summit. It is the first time an Afghan leader has attended this annual event, designed to be a counterweight to Western influence in the region.

China and the other Central Asian leaders have expressed concern over the security vaccuum that will be created by the departure of Western forces from Afghanistan in 2014.

But having watched NATO sustain a war that has cost billions of dollars and lasted more than a decade, China and Russia are aware of the dangers of becoming too involved on Afghan soil.

Since China is eager to maintain good ties with Afghanistan, whose territory contains an estimated $1tn in minerals, the latter will probably be made a regular guest to this annual summit.

Al Jazeera's Steve Chao reports from Hong Kong.

Source: Al Jazeera English