Pakistan discussing expansion of CPEC to Afghanistan: envoy

Published September 28, 2021
Pakistan’s Ambassador to Afghanistan, Mansoor Ahmad Khan, speaks during an interview with Reuters in this screen grab taken from a video. — Reuters
Pakistan’s Ambassador to Afghanistan, Mansoor Ahmad Khan, speaks during an interview with Reuters in this screen grab taken from a video. — Reuters

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan has discussed the Taliban-led Afghanistan joining the multibillion-dollar China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) infrastructure project, the Pakistan’s ambassador to the country said on Monday.

“Regional connectivity is an important element of our discussion with Afghan leadership and our way forward for our economic interaction with Afghanistan,” said Mansoor Ahmad Khan, Pakistan’s envoy to Kabul, in an interview with Reuters.

“This important project — China Pakistan Economic Corridor — provides good opportunities, good potential for providing infrastructure and energy connectivity between Afghanistan and Pakistan ... (and) also connecting South Asia to the Central Asian region.”

Says Pakistan is also trying to get curbs lifted on Afghan banking system

Khan said that discussions had been held with the Taliban-led administration on this and other ways to develop the country’s economy.

“I think there has been deep interest in terms of developing economic connectivity of Afghanistan with Pakistan through CPEC and with other neighbouring countries including Iran, China, Central Asian countries.”

In recent days representatives from Pakistan, China and Russia have held meetings with Taliban officials. Khan said security and economic development were the two main topics under discussion and that these countries expected to continue to consult as a group and meet the Taliban going forward.

Since the Taliban took over Afghanistan on Aug 15, the country has been plunged into economic crisis as the nation’s international assistance has been largely cut off. Billions of dollars in central bank assets held abroad have also been frozen, which has put pressure on the banking system and prevented most transactions involving US dollars, which Khan said was also hampering trade.

The ambassador said that Pakistan was also trying to work with the international community to ease international restrictions on the banking system and several executives from Pakistani financial institutions with a presence in Afghanistan had visited Kabul in recent days to see if the situation could be improved should international limits end.

The United States and other Western nations are reluctant to provide the Taliban with funds until the Islamist group provides assurances that it will uphold human rights, and in particular the rights of women.

Pakistan has not yet formally recognised the Taliban-led administration and Khan said “the issues of formal recognition will come later as Pakistan is part of the international community”.

Published in Dawn, September 28th, 2021

Opinion

Crisis looming
Updated 21 Oct 2021

Crisis looming

It will be a terrible mistake for the PM, his acolytes to underestimate the strength of the wave that is about to hit them.
An eye-opener
21 Oct 2021

An eye-opener

A daring report by Indian savants could have been written here.
Past, present, forever
Updated 20 Oct 2021

Past, present, forever

Despite their close relationship, this is hardly the first time the PTI and the military have not been BFFs.

Editorial

Not just cricket
Updated 21 Oct 2021

Not just cricket

Hype surrounding the match — sold out as soon as tickets sales opened — has overshadowed the other games, as well as other teams.
Local governance
21 Oct 2021

Local governance

The court ruling restoring local institutions in Punjab should go a long way in ensuring the continuation of grassroots democracy.
21 Oct 2021

Breast cancer awareness

LIKE so many other issues relating to women’s health in Pakistan, breast cancer is not a subject of serious...
Opposition’s chance?
Updated 19 Oct 2021

Opposition’s chance?

What the opposition can do is take advantage of the cleavage between PTI and the establishment, perhaps widen it and leverage it.
Evading tax laws
Updated 20 Oct 2021

Evading tax laws

Challenge of tax compliance can't be dealt with without directly taxing incomes irrespective of source and punishing tax evaders.
19 Oct 2021

KCR delays

AS political and bureaucratic stakeholders drag their feet over reviving the Karachi Circular Railway, residents of...