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Taliban says China seeking investment in Afghanistan's oil, gas

ANI |
May 15, 2023 10:09 AM IST

The spokesman for the Ministry of Mines and Petroleum (MoMP), Homyaoon Afghan, said that they have provided essential facilities for the investors.

The Taliban on Sunday said that China is seeking to invest in the gas and oil sectors in Afghanistan, reported Tolo News.

Afghanistan foreign minister with Chinese diplomat(Chinese government)
Afghanistan foreign minister with Chinese diplomat(Chinese government)

The spokesman for the Ministry of Mines and Petroleum (MoMP), Homyaoon Afghan, said that they have provided essential facilities for the investors.

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"The minister thanked the investors and said that Afghanistan is rich in gas and oil and it is expected that in the near future there will be announced the extraction of gas and oil in some areas," he said.

Earlier in January, the ruling Taliban in Afghanistan signed a contract with a Chinese company to extract oil from the Amu Darya basin as the group tries to improve the economy of Kabul, Tolo News reported.

China and the Taliban signed the agreement at a ceremony in the presence of senior members of the Islamic Emirates and Chinese Ambassador Wang Yi.

Afghanistan's acting mines and petroleum minister Shahabuddin Delawar, said the first three years will be exploratory and that in this period more than USD 540 million will be invested, reported Tolo News.

Meanwhile, the Afghanistan Chamber of Industry and Mines (ACIM) said foreign investment is important for a rise in national income and the creation of job opportunities for citizens.

"This is a good opportunity for Chinese companies and also for Afghanistan... This is a good opportunity both for Afghanistan and China," said Sakhi Ahmad Payman, deputy head of the Afghanistan Chamber of Industry and Mines (ACIM).

Earlier, the Ministry of Industry and Commerce reported that China had invested and signed contracts in Afghanistan worth USD 2 billion in investment after the fall of the former government.

While no country has officially recognized the Taliban, China has a substantial investment in the region. Afghanistan is looking for investments as its money is still frozen.

One of the main issues for Western countries has been the new government's marginalization of minorities and women.

But, security is the most important issue that China is concerned about. Regarding Afghanistan's central geopolitical position and abundant resources leading to its addition to the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) in 2016, the Taliban's security guarantees to China have not prevented instability, which continues to threaten the BRI's economic viability.

The Taliban are not the sole provider of violence in Afghanistan, with groups such as the Islamic State (IS) committing rival acts of violence.

From the Chinese perspective, there are two fundamental objectives that are important vis-a-vis Afghanistan: domestic stability, which includes maintaining control over Xinjiang and ensuring that Afghanistan does not act as a staging ground for Uyghur militants; and trying to protect the substantial Chinese foreign direct investments in regional countries, especially the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor.

But violence against Chinese interests from the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) has increased as China's footprint in the region has expanded, and while it is risk-acceptant, it has reacted, in order to convey a message.

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