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Why is China interested in investing in Afghanistan?

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Chinese companies have shown interest in investing in Afghanistan under the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). However, these companies are facing many challenges due to terrorism and instability. US media reports that China will make every effort to rebuild Afghanistan and develop the country. According to the report, in January this year, the Taliban signed a contract with Chinese company CAPEIC to extract oil in the north of the country with an investment of US$150 million annually.

Apart from this, China has also shown interest in the development and operation of mines in Afghanistan. A Chinese company Metallurgical Corporation of China (MCC) signed a contract with the then-Afghan government in 2008 to extract copper in the Mes Aynak field in Logar province, but work has not yet started there. Last month, Shahabuddin Dilawar, the Taliban’s Minister of Mines and Petroleum, urged the MCC to begin work on the development and operation of the mine. Analysts said the Taliban may have scored a diplomatic victory in the deal to extend the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) to Afghanistan, but the implementation of the project still faces challenges. In a joint statement following a meeting of officials of the three countries in Islamabad in May this year, the three sides reaffirmed their resolve to fully utilize Afghanistan’s potential for regional connectivity. The three countries reiterated their commitment to further trilateral cooperation under the “Belt and Road Initiative (BRI)” and to jointly extend CPEC to Afghanistan.

In a meeting with Taliban officials in Kabul last week, officials of the Fan China Afghan Mining, Processing and Trading Company announced plans to invest US$350 million in Afghanistan in a variety of sectors, from construction to health and energy, according to Afghanistan’s state news agency Bakhtar News. Was announced. Explain that the US $ 62 billion China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) connectivity project is a major part of the Belt and Road Initiative launched by Chinese President Xi Jinping in 2013. The initiative is a series of infrastructure projects and investments aimed at linking China with foreign trade around the world. Since the withdrawal of US and NATO forces in August 2021 and the Taliban’s takeover of Afghanistan, China has been vocal in criticizing the US for confiscating Afghan assets.

A UN report published last month said the Taliban still had links with al-Qaeda and other groups, including the Eastern Turkestan Islamic Movement (ETIM), also known as the Turkestan Islamic Party. China regards ETIM as a threat to its security. It was founded in 1997 in Pakistan by Uyghur religious leader Hasan Mahsum. However, the US removed ETIM from its terror list in 2020. Meanwhile, Hamidullah Farooqi, Afghanistan’s former minister of transport and civil aviation, told Voice of America that the Taliban tried to assure China and Pakistan that it would not allow any terrorist group to use Afghan soil.

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