Rise in meetings between Chinese diplomats, investors with Taliban

The number of meetings and visits between Chinese diplomats and investors with the Taliban has increased. According to Amu’s findings, the Chinese envoy in Kabul and investors have met with senior Taliban officials on eight occasions in less than three weeks in June.

During this period, the Chinese ambassador and investors engaged in discussions with acting ministers of mines and petroleum, energy and water, the acting central bank, and the general director of Taliban revenue.

Following the Taliban’s takeover of Afghanistan in August 2021, China has intensified its efforts to enhance political and economic relations with the Taliban.

Chinese officials have consistently supported the Taliban’s approach in international meetings and have urged for the release of over nine billion dollars in Afghan assets.

Throughout June alone, Chinese and Taliban officials have met eight times.

Fereydoun Ajand, an expert in international relations, stated, “From an economic standpoint, Afghanistan possesses significant natural resources, which are crucial for industrial development. Given China’s proximity to Afghanistan, acquiring Afghanistan’s mines would benefit China.”

Information obtained from the Taliban-run ministries of Mines and Petroleum, Energy and Water, Finance, and the Central Bank reveals that in the first 18 days of June, the Chinese ambassador and Chinese investors held two meetings with Shahabuddin Delawar, Taliban’s Acting Minister of Mines and Petroleum, one meeting with Abdul Latif Mansour, Taliban’s Acting Minister of Energy and Water, one meeting with Hedayatullah Badri, Taliban’s head of the Central Bank, and one meeting with Sher Mohammad Mushfaq, Taliban’s general director of the Taliban’s revenue.

During these eight meetings, Chinese diplomats and investors aimed to secure access to Afghanistan’s lead, zinc, gas, lithium, and talc mines. Additionally, they have commenced investments in coal energy production.

Amo TV’s findings indicate that within a span of less than three weeks, four Chinese companies, including Igal Kin Dow and a group of Chinese companies known as HTC, have arrived in Afghanistan.

Seyyed Masoud, an expert in economic affairs, stated, “Economically, the Chinese are making significant efforts to replace the dominant American power and gain control over strategic points in Afghanistan, focusing on major projects rather than smaller ones like the Aynak copper and gas fields in the north.”

On June 16th, the Chinese ambassador emphasized the improvement of banking, trade, and economic relations with the Taliban during a meeting with Hedayatullah Badri.

“Afghanistan’s banking sector faces several challenges, including attracting deposits, providing profitable loans, and facilitating money transfers for private entrepreneurs abroad. China sees this as an opportunity to revitalize and establish relationships between Afghan public and private banks,” said Siyar Qureshi, former head of the Afghanistan Banks Union,

In October 1401, the Taliban’s Ministry of Industry and Trade announced that since coming to power, they have granted investment permits to 150 foreign investors, with Chinese investors leading the list.

In 2008, MCC China acquired the Aynak Logar copper contract, and subsequently, China National Oil Company signed a contract for the Amu Darya oil field. However, neither project was completed for extraction.