Afghanistan nearing deal to purchase gasoline from Russia
Russia is negotiating with Afghanistan a deal that could see the two potentially dealing with each other on oil and gas.
Russia and Afghanistan are in the final stages of talks in Moscow over the terms of a contract for Kabul to purchase gasoline and benzene from Moscow, Afghan officials told Reuters.
Afghan Ministry of Economy spokesperson Habiburahman Habib said an official delegation headed by the ministry of commerce visited the Russian capital of Moscow to finalize contracts for supplies of wheat, gas, and oil.
"They are in negotiation with the Russian side," he told Reuters, adding more details would be disclosed upon the conclusion of a contract between the two sides.
The contracts came after a Taliban delegation, chaired by the minister of commerce, paid a visit to Moscow earlier this month to hold talks on bilateral trade.
The potential agreement comes as the United States is trying to coax the world into cutting down on its use of Russian oil, claiming that its aspirations are aimed at hurting the Russian economy as an act of retaliation over the Ukraine war.
However, Afghanistan, just like Russia, is under severe sanctions from international governments, including the United States, therefore bilateral trade would technically not yield further repercussions.
Additionally, the United States has billions of dollars frozen on its soil, which belong to Afghanistan's central bank. Despite that and its banking sector being infested with sanctions, several countries are cooperating with Kabul to help alleviate the suffering of the Afghan people.
The United States will not release any of the $7 billion in Afghan central bank assets held on American soil and has halted relevant talks with the Taliban movement in the wake of the assassination of Al-Qaeda leader Ayman Al-Zawahiri in Kabul last month, the Wall Street Journal reported earlier this month, citing US officials.
The decision reversed tiny signs of progress in negotiations between Washington and the Taliban and calls into question an economic recovery in Afghanistan where millions of people face starvation, the report considered.
The United Nations would like to see Afghanistan’s reserves in the amount of $7 billion in the United States returned to the country, Humanitarian Coordinator for Afghanistan Ramiz Alakbarov said in the wake of the decision.
"We need to have these assets returned to Afghanistan," Alakbarov said. "I know that there are negotiations which are going on about those returns, and I know that the proposals have been made on the specific conditions of how, for instance, the private sector assets to be returned. So, flexibility needs to be exercised on both sides."
Last August, the Taliban came to power in Afghanistan after an incredibly chaotic withdrawal of US troops and the end of the US occupation of the country.