Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said in an interview published on Thursday that China will be Afghanistan’s “most important partner” as the new Taliban-led government is seeking infrastructure investments.
“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 told the Italian newspaper La Repubblica.
Mujahid said there are “rich copper mines in the country, which, thanks to the Chinese, can be put back into operation and modernized. In addition, China is our pass to markets all over the world.”
Afghanistan faces a potential economic crisis, and the new government is strapped for cash. After 20 years of waging war in the country, the US is now withholding billions in Afghan reserves to use as leverage over the Taliban.
With the US using its control over the global financial system as a weapon against the Taliban, China is an obvious partner for them to turn to. China is a regional country and is seeking to expand its global infrastructure project, known as the Belt and Road Initiative.
One of China’s few requests of the Taliban is that they cut ties with the East Turkestan Islamic Movement (ETIM), a Uyghur Muslim group Beijing accuses of carrying out terrorist attacks in Xinjiang. But Beijing appears to be ready to recognize the new Taliban government and has kept its embassy open in Kabul.