Thursday, May 11, 2023

Taliban consent on extending BRI in Afghanistan with China and Pakistan


Taliban agree with China and Pakistan to extend BRI in Afghanistan

ISLAMABAD: By extending the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) to Afghanistan, which could bring in billions of dollars to fund infrastructure projects in the sanctions-hit nation, the Taliban reached an agreement with China and Pakistan.

On Saturday, Chinese and Pakistani counterparts Bilawal Bhutto Zardari and Qin Gang met in Islamabad and agreed to collaborate on the reconstruction of Afghanistan, including bringing the $60 billion China-Pakistan Economic Corridor to the Taliban-ruled country.

A joint statement from Pakistan's foreign ministry stated, "The two sides agreed to continue their humanitarian and economic assistance for the Afghan people and enhance development cooperation in Afghanistan."

The project's expansion to Afghanistan has previously been discussed by Chinese and Pakistani officials. The Taliban government, which has no money, has said that it is willing to participate in the project and get the much-needed infrastructure investment.

The Taliban's top ambassador Amir Khan Muttaqi went to Islamabad to meet his Chinese and Pakistani partners and agreed, his agent representative Hafiz Zia Ahmad said by telephone.

The Taliban have also harbored hopes that China would increase its $1 trillion investment in the country's abundant resources. In January, the government signed its first contract to extract oil from the Amu Darya basin with a subsidiary of China National Petroleum Corporation. The need to unfreeze Afghanistan's overseas assets was also emphasized by the Pakistani and Chinese ministers. Due to concerns that the funds would be utilized for terrorist activities, the Taliban have been prevented from accessing approximately $9 billion of Afghanistan's central bank reserves that are held overseas.

Washington later agreed to release half of it to help the economy, but it was put on hold after the Taliban restricted Afghan women's access to certain places of employment and education last year.

China, Russia, and Iran are among a modest bunch of nations that keep up with warm binds with the Taliban. They have given help to the Taliban, however have avoided officially perceiving the public authority.

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