Taliban says eager to develop trade with Iran
Afghanistan declares its intent to bolster its friendly ties with Iran, hoping to develop the trade relations between the two countries.
Trade between Iran and Afghanistan reached a whopping $350 million during the second and third quarters of 2022, the spokesperson for the Afghan Ministry of Commerce and Industry, Abdul Salam Jawad Akhundzada, said on Sunday.
However, the trade balance was mostly shifted in Iran's favor, with Akhundzada noting that the Taliban exported $5 million worth of products to Iran in the same period.
The spokesperson underlined that his country was determined to enhance and expand its trade ties with the Islamic Republic.
Afghanistan mostly imported raw materials from Iran, including gasoline, diesel, cement, and electricity, whose value amounted to $350 million.
He further underlined that Kabul was seeking and attempting to expand its trade and economic cooperation with Iran.
Afghan Foreign Minister Amir Khan Muttaqi had talked with the deputy Iranian ambassador to Afghanistan, and he called for the bolstering of trade between the two countries.
This comes months after local Iranian sources said that a new transit route would be built between Afghanistan and Iran in Nimruz province, Mehr reported.
According to the Iranian news agency, "Local sources said that the new transit route will be built due to the inadequacy of the Silk Bridge – the only route for the transfer of commercial goods between Afghanistan and Iran in Nimroz province to solve the problems of traders and facilitate the passage of commercial goods."
The Silk Bridge in Nimruz province, which is on the border between Afghanistan and Iran, "occasionally witnesses excessive overcrowding," Mehr mentioned.
Amir-Abdollahian: US is root cause of Afghanistan problems
In late March, Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian pointed out that the fundamental reason for Afghanistan's troubles is the long-term occupation and erroneous policies of the invaders, particularly the United States.
Speaking during the third meeting of Afghanistan's neighbors Conference in Tunxi, China, the foreign minister said that the occupation did not contribute to the country's development but rather resulted in the "collapse" of its political and economic structures following the disastrous withdrawal.
Amir-Abdollahian expressed that after the many challenges and struggles that Afghanistan has witnessed, neighbors are hopeful for many things regarding the nation.
There is hope, according to Amir-Abdollahian, for Afghan interest in establishing peace and looking for diplomatic solutions, regional convergence, particularly between neighbors of Afghanistan, and hope that the world does not forget its hardships.
The FM noted that Iran hosts hundreds of thousands of Afghan Refugees and that it was ready to cooperate with other countries interested in contributing to the assistance of Afghans.
Bolstering regional ties
After the US and its allies left Afghanistan in shambles, the Taliban are turning to regional powers to bolster their standing in order to avert a collapse.
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 in July, the Wall Street Journal reported, 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.
Meanwhile, reports from late August suggested that Russia and Afghanistan were in the final stages of talks in Moscow over the terms of a contract for Kabul to purchase gasoline and benzene from Moscow.
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.
The contracts came after a Taliban delegation, chaired by the minister of commerce, paid a visit to Moscow earlier in the month to hold talks on bilateral trade.
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.