Taliban aiming to boost economic ties with China, neighbors

In Afghanistan, the Taliban interim government says it will strengthen economic relations with China under Beijing's Belt and Road initiative. The move comes as Afghanistan's economy continues to flounder since the Islamist group re-took power three years ago.

A spokesperson for the Taliban commerce ministry spoke with NHK. Akhoundzada Abdul Salam Jawad expressed a strong intention to boost trade ties with Beijing.

"We have been discussing the Belt and Road initiative with our Chinese counterparts," he said. "This is very significant, because we can export goods to China and the entire world through the framework."

He said the interim government plans to build a new trade route between northern Afghanistan and China, and promote exports of oil and mineral resources produced in Afghanistan.

Jawad said Afghanistan will also strengthen cooperation with its Central Asian neighbors, such as Turkmenistan and Kazakhstan. He said the three countries plan to build a large-scale logistics hub in western Afghanistan, connecting Central and South Asia.

"All countries need Afghanistan as their shortest transit route for trade," he said. "This is important for us, because we want to create jobs for our citizens."

Afghanistan's economy remains stagnant, with no country recognizing the Taliban interim government since it seized power in 2021. The US continues to freeze the country's central bank reserves.