What is China looking for in Afghanistan?
The start of crude oil extraction in the Amu Darya basin this summer by “Afchin” company was one of the most important news in Afghanistan.
According to the announcement of Taliban officials, Afghanistan and Afchin Company jointly started the extraction of crude oil in Sarpol area . According to the announcement of the Ministry of Economy of the Taliban, the contract is worth 160 million dollars.
In exchange for the installation of mining equipment in northern Afghanistan, this company only “takes 20% of the mining products.”
In the last year, Chinese investors have made several trips to Kabul.
Another project that the Chinese have shown great interest in is Aynak copper mining in Logar province. According to the Ministry of Mines and Petroleum of Afghanistan, the mine is considered to be the second copper reserve in the world. The mining contract for this mine was signed with China’s “MCC” company during the presidency of Hamid Karzai and has not yet been implemented.
This spring, the Ministry of Mines and Petroleum of the Taliban announced the visit of the vice president of the Chinese company to Kabul and wrote that this Chinese official has shared his company’s plan to extract the Musk Aynak mine with the Afghan side. But the Taliban’s Ministry of Economy says that negotiations are ongoing and practical work has not started.
What are the Chinese doing in Kabul?
This spring, the Ministry of Mines and Petroleum of the Taliban announced the trip of officials and representatives of the Chinese company “Gochin” to Afghanistan and wrote that they had announced the investment of 10 billion dollars to extract Afghanistan’s lithium reserves in a meeting with Shahabuddin Delawar, the head of the ministry.
In addition to investing in this sector, this company also promised to rebuild the strategic crossing of Salang within seven months and said that it will also dig another tunnel in Salang.
Also, in exchange for lithium extraction, he promised Mr. Delaware the asphalting of the Kumar-Laghman road and the construction of a hydropower plant in the place.
In the winter of last year, the expression of China’s interest in investing in the production of 500 megawatts of electricity from coal was published, and the representative of the Chinese Chamber of Commerce, in a meeting with Mohammad Hanif Hamzah, the executive chairman of the National Electricity Company of Afghanistan (Barshana), said that China’s experience in producing electricity from It has coal in 11 countries.
The Taliban Ministry of Industry and Trade has also said that China is interested in connecting the two countries through the Wakhan Corridor or the Silk Road. With the realization of this project, both sides are looking forward to increase exchanges between Beijing and Kabul, a process that can play a vital role in increasing the income of the Afghan government.
Meanwhile, Abdulsalam Javad, the spokesman of Afghanistan’s Ministry of Industry and Trade, told the about the interest of both sides to build this Wakhan road and added that China is going to build a road up to the Wakhan border and Afghanistan will also develop the Wakhan road. According to him, negotiations are ongoing between the two countries. According to him, this practical plan will soon be implemented and Afghanistan will be connected to China.
How important is Afghanistan to China?
Considering Beijing’s increasing efforts to invest and stabilize Afghanistan, the question now is what made Kabul so important to Beijing? What China has done so far in the economic and diplomatic sector is considered the initial steps towards influence in Afghanistan.
Hossein Mehrami, an economist, believes that China, as a newly emerging and decisive economic power, is seeking political concentration in the region and is trying to establish itself as a decisive power in the region, and its presence in Afghanistan is one of these. is the program
According to Mr. Mehrami, the second reason why Afghanistan is important for China is China’s rapid economic development and the country’s need for raw materials all over the world. Afghanistan, in China’s neighborhood, has untouched natural resources and raw materials that are desirable to China.
According to him, China’s “Belt and Road” plan has also made Afghanistan one of China’s desirable destinations. Afghanistan can be a link between China and other countries.
Asadollah Zairi, a university professor in Kabul, also believes that when a country like Afghanistan, which is of special importance from a geopolitical point of view, is placed next to a strategic power like China, it becomes even more important.
Afghanistan shares a 92-kilometer land border with China in a mountainous region that is of great importance to China.
He believes that China’s economic cooperation with Afghanistan has a security and political flavor. China is looking for stability in Afghanistan, because instability in Afghanistan can cause the growth of extremism, Afghanistan’s instability can endanger China’s position in the region.
Is the type of regime in Kabul important for China?
A basic question is, what is the ideal type of Chinese regime in Kabul? And does the change of the political system bring a change in China’s approach towards this country or not?
Mr. Zairi believes that the type of system in Afghanistan is not important for China, whether it is a system based on the will of the people or a completely authoritarian system, the only thing that is important for China is the stability of Afghanistan.
According to him, the main motivation for China’s presence in Afghanistan and interest in investing in Afghanistan is to limit the influence of America in the first step and to prevent instability in Afghanistan in the second step, because Afghanistan’s instability is a process that will be targeted by China.
This university professor believes that China’s slow, continuous and cautious move for the economic development of Afghanistan is also in line with connecting Kabul with Xinjiang province. Beijing is trying to make Afghanistan an economic partner of Xinjiang.
According to him, a developed Afghanistan is important for China from the point of view that it will not cause extremist influence in China and the gate of instability towards China. On the other hand, if China succeeds in connecting the economy of Xinjiang with the economy of Afghanistan, it will cause the economic development of Xinjiang province and the development of China at the regional level.