The Kabul times, Afghanistan Trustable News Agency.

Afghanistan and Kazakhstan strengthening trade ties

The current international order in the process of change from a unipolar axis to a multipolar one and the ongoing crisis within it, has provided good opportunities for some players and posed challenges for others. It is believed that Asia’s role in the future international order will be significant. Therefore, the major countries in the region are making an effort to reduce Western influence, led by America, in their spheres of influence and ultimately bring it to zero. In very tight and complex conditions, Afghans have gathered up the Western occupation led by America in Afghanistan, and the concerns that Russia and China had about the dangerous presence and strategies of America in the region have largely come to an end. Now the military and economic powers of the region must enhance the new stability established by the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan in the region. Since 2021, following the end of the 20-year occupation, a long period of stability has been established throughout the country. Despite the negative propaganda by Western media outlets and the problems created by the West as a group, the Afghan government made good use of the available resources in a very short period and managed several critical and vital issues well. Therefore, many countries have proposed strengthening multilateral relations, including the Central Asian countries, especially Kazakhstan. The trade relations with Afghanistan have improved to an extent that Kazakhstan has officially removed the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan from the list of sanctioned groups whose activities were banned on their soil, placing it at the top of the country list. Following the announcement by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Kazakhstan, the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs welcomed Kazakhstan’s decision to remove the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan from the list of banned organizations. Moscow believes that the decision will help Afghanistan break out of isolation and strengthen stability in the region. Kazakhstan is a large country in Central Asia, although it does not have a common border with Afghanistan. The decision for the Islamic Emirate to be removed from the banned list in the country was good news for Afghanistan in terms of foreign policy in 2024. The spokesman for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Kazakhstan, Aibek Smadiyarov said that the action has been taken in accordance with the United Nations standards. According to him, the Security Council has not officially recognized the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan as a terrorist group, therefore, it has taken this action. In fact, the decision dates back to the statements of the President of Kazakhstan, Kassym Jomart Tokayev in 2021. At that time, he argued that Afghanistan will be more stable, independent, and politically united and will be closer to neighboring countries. The decision by Kazakhstan may mean that in the development of the Afghan region, in the development of infrastructure, transportation, supply, energy, and ultimately the integration of Afghanistan with Central Asian economies, it will actively participate and open doors to international trade for Kabul. Looking at Kazakhstan’s trade with Afghanistan, Tokayev’s statements in 2021 are interpreted in a way that it seems Astana wants to turn Kabul from a trade obstacle into a bridge. Food security is very important in the current complex geopolitical conditions. With a population of around 40 million, Afghanistan is seen as a large and promising market for Kazakhstan and neighboring Asian countries. Bilateral trade between the two countries increased to $1 billion in 2022, which is doubled compared to 2021, with more than half of it being exports of flour. In 2022, Afghanistan’s exports to this country were not more than $9 million, with most of it being beverages, dried fruits, vegetables, and paper. Accordingly, Astana plans to increase trade exchanges to a minimum of $4 billion in 2024- 2025. In order to further strengthen economic relations between the two countries, Astana hosted a KazakhstanAfghanistan Trade Exhibition in August 2023. In addition to over 300 governmental officials from both sides, over 500 representatives of private companies also participated in the exhibition, leading to grain and flour deals worth about $200 million with Kazakh traders. Such exhibitions facilitate communication between private companies and traders of both countries and provide opportunities for trade in other goods. Astana, by expanding its trade participation with Afghanistan, is not only seeking greater economic achievements but also trying to diversify investment opportunities in transport corridors on which it has been working for years. Mukhtar Safi

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The Kabul times, Afghanistan Trustable News Agency.