The Kabul times, Afghanistan Trustable News Agency.

Regional countries’ growing cooperation with Afghanistan

With the Islamic Emirate takeover, efforts have been made to maintain good cooperation with all countries in the region and world. In the past almost three years, a number of regional countries particularly China and Russia have entered into positive and meaningful relations with the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan. In recent weeks, Russia has shared its thoughts about growing relations with Afghanistan. In mid-May of the current year, a delegation of the Islamic Emirate traveled to Tatarstan Republic (Russia) to participate in the “Russia-Islamic World Kazan Forum.” This was not the first visit of the Islamic Emirate’s representatives to Russia. They also took part in the Kazan Forum in May 2023, and a month later participated in an international forum of ministers of education. During their stay in Tatarstan, the Islamic Emirate representatives participated in various roundtable discussions. The panels mainly focused on economic issues, Islamic banking, trade routes and logistics, tourism, and even halal food products. One of the Islamic Emirate delegates to the forum, Nooruddin Azizi, the acting minister of Industry and Commerce, praised the new chapter in Kabul-Moscow relations, stating: “We will not talk about what was between our countries in the past. We are glad that the relations between Afghanistan and Russia, with the help of the Republic of Tatarstan, are starting again. And we are proud that there are many similarities between Afghanistan and Tatarstan.” Moscow and Kabul are seeking to intensify their cooperation. The head of the Russian Business Center in Afghanistan, Rustam Khabibullin, stated to a Russian media outlet, RIA Novosti, that trade between Russia and Afghanistan, which amounted to $170 million in 2022, has grown to exceed one billion dollars. He attributed this to “the flight of U.S. and NATO forces [from the region], which in every possible way hindered the active development of economic and political relations between the two countries.” It seems that energy resources and agricultural products Russia generally exports flour, wheat, and sunflower oil account for the lion’s share of the two countries’ trade. During a discussion forum, Nooruddin Azizi explained that Afghanistan signs short-term contracts with Russian companies for the supply of petroleum products and crude oil: “For example, the contracts on supplies of petroleum products can be concluded for six months, three months, or four… in terms of volumes supplied, it could be, say, ten thousand tons, fifty thousand tons.” Upon completion, the contracts are usually renewed. Afghanistan also seeks to participate in other Moscow initiatives, such as the International North-South Transport Corridor (INSTC). The Kremlin aims to invest in the Afghan economy; Moscow is particularly interested in the construction of the Kush-Tape water canal. In 2023, under the auspices of the Kazan Muslim Charitable Patriotic Foundation, a Russian business center was opened in Kabul. During the forum, Nooruddin Azizi proposed to open an Afghan business center in Moscow. Amid growing cooperation between Russia and Afghanistan, talks have emerged about increasing cooperation with the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan. A Russian magazine argued that the Kremlin would have to work with authorities in Afghanistan and like to increase cooperation with the country. There are hopes that the Islamic Emirate will be recognized by a number of countries in the region in the near future as Afghanistan has maintained good and positive relations with most countries, particularly China and Russia. Mashal Noori

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The Kabul times, Afghanistan Trustable News Agency.