Breakthrough development reported between Afghan Taliban and China

Breakthrough development reported between Afghan Taliban and China

The Taliban administration expressed its desire to formally participate in the Chinese President Xi Jinping's ambitious 'Belt and Road' infrastructure project. To facilitate this, Afghanistan's acting commerce minister disclosed that a technical team would be dispatched to China for discussions. Despite the absence of recognition from other foreign governments, Beijing has been actively seeking to enhance its relationship with the Taliban-led government since it assumed power in 2021.

Notably, China made a significant move by appointing the first ambassador to Kabul, distinguishing itself from other nations, which retained their previous ambassadors or appointed heads of mission in a charge d'affaires capacity, thus refraining from formally presenting credentials to the Taliban government.

During an interview following the conclusion of the Belt and Road Forum in Beijing, Acting Commerce Minister Haji Nooruddin Azizi stated that Afghanistan has approached China with a request to become part of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor and the Belt and Road Initiative. The term "economic corridor" pertains to a prominent section of the Belt and Road Initiative located in Afghanistan's neighboring country, Pakistan.

Azizi further revealed the administration's intention to send a technical team to China to gain a better understanding of the issues that might be hindering Afghanistan's participation in the initiative. However, he did not provide specific details regarding the obstacles.

Of significant interest is Afghanistan's potential to provide China with valuable mineral resources. Several Chinese companies, including the Metallurgical Corp. of China Ltd (MCC), have been operating in the region. MCC has engaged in discussions with both the Taliban administration and the previous Western-backed government, exploring plans for a substantial copper mine.