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Taliban agrees to extension of China’s Belt and Road Initiative in Afghanistan
Image tweeted by @HafizZiaAhmad1

Taliban agrees to extension of China’s Belt and Road Initiative in Afghanistan

| @indiablooms | 07 May 2023, 11:28 pm

Islamabad: The Taliban regime in Afghanistan has agreed to allow China’s Belt and Road Initiative, paving the way for billions of dollars of infrastructure investment in the sanction-hit country, Bloomberg reported.

On Saturday, Chinese Foreign Minister Qin Gang and his Pakistani counterpart Bilawal Bhutto Zardari held a meeting in Islamabad, where they expressed their commitment to collaborating on Afghanistan's reconstruction efforts, including extending the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) to the nation currently under Taliban rule.

The CPEC, with an investment of $60 billion, aims to enhance connectivity and promote economic development in the region.

"The two sides agreed to continue their humanitarian and economic assistance for the Afghan people and enhance development cooperation in Afghanistan, including through extension of CPEC to Afghanistan," according to a joint statement issued by Pakistan's foreign ministry following the meeting.

Taliban government had expressed interest to participate in the project and the prospect of attracting infrastructure investment to the cash-strapped country.

According to Taliban’s deputy spokesman Hafiz Zia Ahmad, the group's top diplomat Amir Khan Muttaqi visited Islamabad and held discussions with his Chinese and Pakistani counterparts and reached an agreement, the report said.

The Taliban is hoping for increased Chinese investments in Afghanistan's abundant resources, which are estimated to be worth around $1 trillion.

In January, the Afghan government signed its first contract with a subsidiary of China National Petroleum Corporation to extract oil from the Amu Darya basin in the north.

During the meeting between the Chinese and Pakistani ministers, emphasis was placed on the importance of unfreezing Afghanistan's overseas financial assets.

Currently, approximately $9 billion of Afghanistan's central bank reserves held abroad have been blocked from access due to concerns that the funds could be utilized for terrorist activities.

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