Thursday Jul 25, 2024
Thursday Jul 25, 2024

Chinese company signs oil extraction deal with Taliban

2023 Jan 06, 19:39, Kabul
Last year in July, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi met with Taliban representative in Tianjin. ( Photo : ANI)

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, TOLONews 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 $540 million will be invested, reported TOLONews.

"The first three years are exploratory. In this period, 4,500 square kilometres will be under the project in three provinces, including Sar-e-Pul, Jawzjan and Faryab. At least 1,000 to 20,000 tons of oil will be extracted," he said.

Delawar said that if the company failed to fulfil the pledged principled, the contract will be cancelled.

"Both sides should work together and cooperate closely to build the project into a successful model of China-Afghanistan cooperation," said Wang Yu, China's ambassador to Kabul, according to TOLONews.

"So it has confidence for more foreign investors to develop their business in Afghanistan. China and Afghanistan are linked by mountains and water and share the same fate."

The contract is due for 25 years, as per TOLONews report.

According to the contract, the Chinese firm will invest up to USD 150 million a year, which will increase to USD 540 million in three years. "The project directly provides job opportunities for 3,000 Afghans," CNN quoted the statement as saying.

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. In December, the UN suspended some of its "time-critical" programs in Afghanistan in the wake of the Taliban's ban on female NGO workers.

The Taliban last month also suspended university education for all female students in Afghanistan, drawing condemnation from around the world, according to CNN.

But security is the most important issue that China is concerned about.

"All Chinese nationals working in China Pakistan Economic Corridor in Pakistan have been asked to move in bullet-proof vehicles when outdoors; while on December 13, following a coordinated attack the previous day by Islamic State Khorasan Province militants on a Chinese-owned hotel in the heart of Kabul, Beijing advised Chinese citizens in Afghanistan to leave the country "as soon as possible," reported The Singapore Post.

The decision on movement in bullet-proof vehicles was taken after Beijing expressed concern to Islamabad about the security of Chinese workers against terrorist attacks in Pakistan.

At the beginning of November 2022 when Prime Minister of Pakistan Shebaz Sharif travelled to Beijing to congratulate President of China Xi Jinping on his election to the post of President for a record third time, the latter gave him a mouthful on the incidents of attacks on Chinese workers in Pakistan, reported The Singapore Post.


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