The interim government of Afghanistan, led by the Taliban, has expressed its intention to officially become a part of Chinese President Xi Jinping’s extensive ‘Belt and Road’ infrastructure project. Afghanistan’s acting commerce minister mentioned that they will dispatch a technical delegation to China for discussions.
Even though the international community has not acknowledged the Taliban-led government, Beijing has actively worked to strengthen its relations with the administration since it assumed power in 2021.
China has been actively working to enhance its relationship with the Taliban-led government in Afghanistan since it assumed power in 2021. In the preceding month, China made history by appointing its ambassador to Kabul, distinguishing itself as the first nation to do so. In contrast, other countries have either maintained their existing ambassadors or appointed heads of mission in a charge d’affaires capacity, a role that does not entail the formal presentation of credentials to the Afghan government.
China also took the significant step of appointing an ambassador to Kabul last month, making it the first country to do so. In contrast, other nations have kept their existing ambassadors in place or assigned heads of mission in a charge d’affaires capacity, which doesn’t require the formal presentation of credentials to the Afghan government.
Hajji Nooruddin Azizi, the acting Commerce Minister, disclosed in a Reuters interview conducted a day after the conclusion of the BRI Forum in Beijing, that Afghanistan has formally requested to be included in both the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor and the Belt and Road Initiative. Currently, they are engaged in discussions concerning technical aspects related to this request.
The term “Pakistan economic corridor” represents a significant and prominent component of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) in Afghanistan’s neighboring country. Azizi, a representative of the Afghan government, mentioned that they plan to send a technical delegation to China to gain a better understanding of the obstacles preventing Afghanistan from participating in this initiative. However, Azizi did not provide specific details regarding the impediments.
Afghanistan is seen as a potential source of valuable mineral resources that China is interested in. Several Chinese companies, including the Metallurgical Corp. of China Ltd. (MCC), have already been operating in Afghanistan. MCC has held discussions with both the Taliban administration and the previous Western-backed government concerning the development of a potentially substantial copper mine.
On the sidelines of the Belt and Road Forum, Afghanistan and 34 other nations have agreed to collaborate on initiatives related to the digital economy and environmentally sustainable development.