Kabul: Afghanistan is in talks with China to rekindle ancient Silk Road trade routes in order to help its dwindling economy, according to media reports.
Taliban’s Industry and commerce minister, Nooruddin Azizi urged China to speed up efforts for the opening of the Silk Route, reported Ariana News.
Azizi said that the Wakhan Corridor or the Silk Road can increase the level of trade between the two countries and become a reliable route for the transit of goods.
“The Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (IEA) has announced its preparations for the opening of this corridor and asks the respected authorities of the People’s Republic of China to speed up the process of opening this route,” Azizi said.
The Belt-and-Road Initiative is a global infrastructure development strategy adopted by the Chinese government in 2013 to invest in nearly 150 countries and international organizations. It seeks to rekindle ancient Silk Road trade routes linking China with Europe and Africa, reported Ariana News
In September, the Afghan Minister of Industry and Commerce said that Afghanistan should be included in the multibillion-dollar China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) infrastructure project, which is a central part of the Belt and Road Initiative.
“In talks, we had with China, it was mentioned that we should partner with China in the Belt-and-Road Initiative and China-Pakistan-Economic Corridor and other programs that China has at the international level,” Nooruddin Azizi said in an interview with China’s CGTN.
China’s policy shift towards Afghanistan is a “New Great Game” in the region to use the country as a stepping-stone for broader regional strategic, economic and political endeavors and moving towards the realignment of the region’s balance of power and hegemony, experts say.
But violence against Chinese interests from the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) has increased as China’s footprint in the region has expanded, and while it is risk-acceptant, it has reacted, in order to convey a message.