Nooruddin Azizi, the Taliban’s acting minister of industry and commerce, traveled to China on Monday evening to participate in the Belt and Road Forum being held in Beijing.
A statement released by the Taliban indicated that Azizi will conduct meetings with Chinese and Afghan business representatives on the sidelines of the event.
The Belt and Road Forum, scheduled to convene in Beijing on Tuesday and Wednesday, marks the 10th anniversary of President Xi Jinping’s ambitious global infrastructure and energy initiative. This initiative aims to rejuvenate the historical Silk Road and strengthen global trade.
China has been in talks with the Taliban concerning a significant copper mine project in eastern Afghanistan. The project was originally initiated during the previous foreign-backed government.
Back in May, officials from China, the Taliban, and neighboring Pakistan expressed their keenness to integrate Afghanistan into the Belt and Road initiative. They also deliberated on the potential extension of the flagship China-Pakistan Economic Corridor into Afghanistan.
Since taking control of Afghanistan two years ago as U.S. and other foreign forces withdrew, the Taliban has yet to receive formal recognition from any government. Numerous obstacles, including constraints on women’s participation in public life and restrictions on female NGO workers, have hindered international recognition, especially from Western nations, as confirmed by officials and international relations analysts.
China has significantly escalated its engagement with the Taliban and notably became the first country to appoint an ambassador to Kabul after the Taliban’s assumption of power. Additionally, China has made investments in several mining projects.
In the previous month, the Chinese ambassador formally presented credentials to the Taliban’s Acting Prime Minister, distinguishing itself from other nations that have retained their previous ambassadors or designated heads of mission in a charge d’affaires capacity, thereby bypassing the formal presentation of credentials to the government.