New partnerships

While most of the world treats Afghanistan’s Taliban government as a pariah, China is growing its diplomatic and economic links with them. A historic development in this context occurred on January 30 when, in a surprise move for many countries including Pakistan, Chinese President Xi Jinping received the credentials of Afghanistan’s ambassador to China, Bilal Karimi.

This event marks the first official recognition of the interim Taliban government by a major nation. However, Washington has made it clear that the Taliban government has violated the Doha Accord by not establishing an inclusive government where women are granted equal rights in education and employment.

Beijing is interested in Afghanistan’s mining, manufacturing, agricultural, and services sectors, with Afghanistan possessing valuable mineral resources like copper, lithium, and rare earth elements essential for Chinese industries. China has been making inroads into Afghanistan through investments and projects.

Moreover, in the last year, Afghanistan has attracted multibillion- dollar investments from Chinese companies interested in its reserves of copper, cobalt, gold, iron, and lithium, which are valued at about $1 trillion. The most prominent among these deals was a 25- year, multimillion-dollar oil extraction contract with an estimated investment value of $150 million in the first year and up to $540 million over the next three years.

As China strengthens its relationship with Afghanistan, international scrutiny will undoubtedly focus on how these issues are addressed by both sides. Chinese decisions will perhaps pave the way for other countries to grant de jure recognition to the Taliban regime. SYED ZAMIN ALI, Larkana.

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