Afghanistan will rely on China for economic assistance, says Taliban

The Taliban will rely mainly on financing from China, the group’s spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid has said, as funds in and from the west was were frozen after the collapse of the US-backed Afghan government

Sep 03, 2021
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Taliban

The Taliban will rely mainly on financing from China, the group’s spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid has said, as funds in and from the west was were frozen after the collapse of the US-backed Afghan government. The country, he said, will make an "economic comeback" with Beijing’s assistance.

The remark was made during an interview to an Italian media, La Repubblica, on Thursday, where the group hinted at the principal role of China-- a widely anticipated scenario in the country in the post-American withdrawal.

“China is our most important partner and represents a fundamental and extraordinary opportunity for us, because it is ready to invest and rebuild our country,” Mujahid was quoted as saying in the interview.

Taliban seized Kabul on August 15--two weeks before the final withdrawal of American troops-- as the US-backed Afghan government collapsed. Following the chaotic departure of foreign troops from Kabul airport in recent weeks, Western states have severely restricted their aid payments to Afghanistan.

In the interviews, he said the New Silk Road--an infrastructure initiative with which China wants to increase its global influence by opening up trade routes -- was held in high regard by the Taliban.

Mentioning the copper mine situated in Logar province in Afghanistan, he said, “Chinese can put back (the mine) into operation and modernize it. In addition, China is our pass to markets all over the world.”

Afghanistan is in dire need of funds, and the Taliban is unlikely to get swift access to the roughly $10 billion in assets here mostly held abroad by the Afghan central bank. The US, other NATO countries, and the IMF all have denied the group access to the country’s funds. 

United Nations chief Antonio Guterres had earlier this week warned of a looming “humanitarian catastrophe” in Afghanistan and urged countries to provide emergency funding as severe drought and war have forced thousands of families to flee their homes.

The aid organizations require around $1.3 billion in emergency funding to thwart unfolding intertwined humanitarian disasters. Currently, they have only 40 percent of funds. Guterres had also expressed his “grave concern at the deepening humanitarian and economic crisis in the country”, adding that basic services threatened to collapse “completely”.

“Now more than ever, Afghan children, women, and men need the support and solidarity of the international community,” he said in a statement on Tuesday as he pleaded for financial support from nations.

The UN chief urged the international community “to dig deep for the people of Afghanistan in their darkest hour of need”. He asked the member states “to provide timely, flexible and comprehensive funding.”

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