Taliban officials have attended regional meetings, primarily related to Afghanistan, but the Belt and Road Forum is one of the most prominent multilateral summits they’ve been invited to….reports Asian Lite News
Taliban will attend China’s Belt and Road Forum underscoring Beijing’s growing official ties with the administration, despite its lack of formal recognition by any government, the media reported.
Taliban officials and ministers have at times travelled to regional meetings, mostly those focused on Afghanistan, but the Belt and Road Forum is among the highest-profile multilateral summits it has been invited to attend, The News reported.
The forum in Beijing on Tuesday and Wednesday marks the 10th anniversary of President Xi Jinping’s ambitious global infrastructure and energy initiative, billed as recreating the ancient Silk Road to boost global trade.
The Taliban’s acting minister for commerce and industry, Haji Nooruddin Azizi, will travel to Beijing in the coming days, ministry spokesman Akhundzada Abdul Salam Jawad said.
“He will attend and will invite large investors” to Afghanistan, he said.
The impoverished country could offer a wealth of coveted mineral resources. A mines minister estimated in 2010 that Afghanistan had untapped deposits, ranging from copper to gold and lithium, worth between $1 trillion and $3 trillion. It is not clear how much they are worth today, The News reported.
China has been in talks with the Taliban over plans, begun under the previous foreign-backed government, over a possible huge copper mine in eastern Afghanistan.
Azizi will continue discussions in Beijing on plans to build a road through the Wakhan corridor, a thin, mountainous strip in northern Afghanistan, to provide direct access to China, Akhundzada said.
Officials from China, the Taliban and neighbouring Pakistan said in May they would like Belt and Road to include Afghanistan and for the flagship China-Pakistan Economic Corridor to be extended across the border to Afghanistan, The News reported.