The Taliban (IEA) is seeking to import oil from Russia in what is likely an effort to drive down rising fuel prices in Afghanistan.
On monday, Acting Minister of Industry and Trade Nouruddin Azizi told Russian media that the IEA is seeking one million barrels of oil from Russia, adding that they would like to consider the option of bartering for the deal “provided that Russia needs some kind of Afghan products.” A Taliban delegation is currently in Moscow to discuss trade and finance cooperation. While not specified or mentioned, the Taliban may look to offer mining rights to Russian companies in exchange for fuel as the IEA also looks to expand investment opportunities in the country.
This development comes as the Taliban made an agreement with Iran to import 350,000 tons of oil, which the IEA Finance Ministry stated was in an effort to combat rising fuel costs. Likewise, the two hope to expand energy trade and development with the establishment of pipelines and refineries in Afghanistan.
Last week, Chinese officials met with Taliban leadership in Kabul to discuss economic expansion. Of the meetings, the most prominent was that of China’s Special Envoy for Afghan Affairs, Yue Xiaoyong, meeting with Amir Khan Muttaqi, the acting Taliban Minister of Foreign Affairs. The two stressed economic development, with the IEA’s Arg Palace Twitter account tweeting that Xiaoyong said “China wants good governance in Afghanistan, Chinese investors and companies will be encouraged to invest in Afghanistan. Visas are given to Afghan businessmen, Chinese flights to Afghanistan are starting and we want to increase Chinese imports to Afghanistan.”
The account also added that “China is willing to invest in infrastructure projects in Afghanistan and neighboring countries should take advantage of the investment opportunities in Afghanistan” and that “The political deputy of the Ministry assured about the investment opportunities in Afghanistan and the security of Chinese investors.”