Taliban and China join hands to extract oil in Afghanistan

Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar and Wang Yu in Kabul, Afghanistan on 5 January (Photo: PTI)

The Taliban government, which is in full control of Afghanistan, has signed an oil extraction agreement with the Chinese company CPEIC in Kabul on Thursday. The Chinese Ambassador to Afghanistan was also present on this occasion.

Taliban’s Acting Minister of Minerals and Petroleum, Shahabuddin Dilawar stated that the deal would cover an area of 4,500 sq. k.m. in the three northern provinces of Saripol, Jawzjan, and Faryab (Amu Darya basin in northern Afghanistan). This is the Taliban government’s first major contract with an international company after assuming power in 2021.

China has not formally recognized the Taliban administration but has significant interests in a country that is vital to its Belt and Road infrastructure at the heart of the region.

Under the agreement, the Taliban government will share 20 percent of the investment and the Chinese company will invest a total of $540 million over three years.Zabihullah Mujahid, the spokesman of the Taliban-run administration tweeted that the Chinese company will invest 150 million dollars annually in Afghanistan under the agreement.He added that the Taliban-led administration would have a 20 percent stake in the project, which could be increased to 75 percent.

Chinese Ambassador to Kabul Wang Yu said during the signing ceremony that China respects the free choice and religious beliefs of the Afghan people. He said that his country never interferes in the affairs of Afghanistan.

Afghanistan is in desperate need to boost its economy and since the Taliban’s return to power, international funding has remained largely frozen.

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