Afghanistan desires role in CPEC, says Afghan envoy
Afghanistan's Ambassador to Pakistan Dr Omer Zakhilwal on Friday said Kabul absolutely supports China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) and wants to become a part of the project.
Dr Zakhilwal, while talking to DawnNews in Islamabad, said "the CPEC was a great project that was equally relevant to Afghanistan like Pakistan, and anything that will be good for Pakistan will be good for the entire region."
The Afghan envoy asserted that the people of Afghanistan were "thirsty for development" and wanted to see their homeland prosper.
“I think CPEC is not limited to Pakistan, it is for the entire region particularly Central Asia,” the envoy maintained.
“CPEC is very much relevant to Afghanistan and it takes much interest in the project,” said Dr Zakhilwal adding that Kabul could excel in development provided it is given the opportunity.
The Afghan envoy said by becoming a part of the project Afghanistan can recover the damages it suffered during the decades long war.
“You saw our cricket team rose up to 8th position in world. Similarly, Afghanistan can surprise many if it gets the opportunity,” Dr Zakhilwal added.
Iran and Saudi Arabia had also shown interest to be part of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).
Minister for Planning, Development and Reforms Ahsan Iqbal earlier this month welcomed the interest shown by Iran and Saudi Arabia by saying “We will welcome both the brotherly Islamic countries if they want to be part of CPEC.”
Pakistan, he said, would also welcome and appreciate any friendly country which desired to participate in the multi-billion gigantic flagship project of “One Road One Belt” initiative launched by Chinese President Xi Jinping.
Last month, investment in the CPEC was increased to more than $51.5bn after China and the ADB agreed to lend $8bn to upgrade the main railway line from Karachi to Peshawar.