Nooruddin Azizi, Afghan Minster of Commerce and Industry
(Photo Credit: Afghan Islamic Press)
Afghanistan’s government has set up a consortium of companies, some of which are located in Russia, Iran, and Pakistan, to develop the country’s economy, according to a report published by Reuters on 22 February.
The Taliban administration is seeking to create an investment plan for sectors in energy, mining, and infrastructure, according to Nooruddin Azizi, the Afghan Minster of Commerce and Industry.
Azizi told Reuters that the consortium is made up of 14 Afghan businessmen and the Ministry of Commerce and Industry, and signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the foreign companies who will consider an investment of up to $1 billion in their upcoming visit to Kabul.
The minister spoke about developing a long-term business plan, with a particular focus on special economic zones and ensuring the security of foreign investors.
“Lots of discussions on security have taken place in cabinet meetings also, commissions have been established and … the hiding places (of militants) have been destroyed,” he said.
“The Islamic Emirate will ensure security and will support the private sector in the security field,” the minister added.
In addition, the consortium is also looking to invest in various infrastructure projects, such as the construction of a second tunnel through the Salang pass that connects Afghanistan’s north to the rest of the country.
Afghanistan has been mired in one of the world’s worst humanitarian crises ever since the defeat of the US-trained army by Taliban forces in August 2021. Following the chaotic withdrawal of US troops, Washington froze $10 billion of Kabul’s foreign reserves and blocked the war-torn country from receiving aid from international organizations.
Afghanistan’s isolation from the west made the Taliban administration look towards neighboring countries such as Iran and Pakistan, but also towards Russia.
Russian President Vladimir Putin issued a warning on 8 February about the deteriorating humanitarian crisis that has emerged in Afghanistan since the withdrawal of US troops after 20 years of occupation.
“Unfortunately, since the US armed forces fled Afghanistan, the situation has not improved. International terrorist organizations are stepping up their activities, including Al-Qaeda, which is strengthening its capabilities,” the Russian leader said during a meeting in Afghanistan with security representatives from several countries.
Last year, Moscow and Kabul signed a deal to provide the war-torn country with one million tons of gasoline, one million tons of diesel, 500,000 tons of liquefied petroleum gas (LPG), and two million tons of wheat annually.