The Taliban and China’s quest for Afghan copper

Instead of attacking development projects, the Taliban now claim that they want to support and even protect foreign investments in Afghanistan. A Chinese copper mining project could be revived soon.

Afghanistan Hairatan Ankunft Cargo Zug aus China (DW/H. Safi)

It sounds paradoxical: The Taliban want to support and encourage big infrastructure and development projects in Afghanistan. That’s the bottom line of an unexpected statement the insurgent group published on its website on Tuesday, November 29. For more than a decade, the militant Islamists have been dominating the headlines because of their frequent bomb attacks on infrastructure in Afghanistan.

According to the Kabul government, Taliban attacks have caused a damage worth more than $2 billion since the start of their fall offensive alone. So it was hardly surprising that the government’s reaction to this latest statement was reserved. “How could we trust them now?” Shah Hussain Murtazawi, a spokesman of Afghan president Ashraf Ghani, was quoted by the AFP news agency as saying. “They have to prove their promises in action.” Continue reading

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Taliban wollen zivile Projekte unterstützen

Die Taliban wollen jetzt angeblich bei der friedlichen Entwicklung Afghanistans durch die Unterstützung großer Infrastruktur- und Bergbauprojekte mitwirken, so beim Kupferabbau in Kooperation mit China.

Ankunft eines chinesischen Güterzuges aus China in Hairatan (Foto: DW/H. Safi)

Wollen ausgerechnet die Taliban jetzt in Afghanistan große, regionale Infrastrukturprojekte zum Wohle des Landes unterstützen? Das haben die Extremisten jedenfalls in einer Erklärung angekündigt, die einen Tag nach der Einweihung einer Eisenbahnlinie zwischen Afghanistan und Turkmenistan veröffentlicht wurde. Es würde im Widerspruch zu ihrer bisherigen Praxis stehen. Allein in den vergangenen drei Monaten haben sie Brücken und andere Verkehrseinrichtungen im Wert von mehreren Millionen US-Dollar zerstört, wie die Regierung in Kabul in einer ersten Reaktion sagte. Immerhin hat sie die Ankündigung der Taliban nicht rundheraus zurückgewiesen: Man wolle abwarten, ob die Extremisten ihre Worten Taten folgen lassen, sagte Präsidentensprecher Shah Hussain Murtazawi. Continue reading

Treffen in Kabul sondiert Friedensgespräche

Zum vierten Mal treffen sich Vertreter Pakistans, Afghanistans, der USA und Chinas, diesmal in Kabul, um nach Wegen zu suchen, die Taliban zu Friedensgesprächen zu bewegen. Aber noch schwören die wenigsten der Gewalt ab.

Taliban in Afghanistan (Foto: Getty Images)

Bei seiner Rede am Nationalfeiertag und zum Gedenken an den Abzug der sowjetischen Truppen am 14. Februar hatte Präsident Ashraf Ghani die islamistischen Taliban einmal mehr dazu aufgerufen, sich den Friedensbemühungen anzuschließen. “Ein weiteres Mal wende ich mich an die Taliban mit der Forderung, sie mögen in Gottes Namen, um des Volkes Willen und die Bemühungen der Mujaheddin-Führer respektierend, den Ruf des Friedens bejahen”, so Ashraf Ghani, der noch nicht müde geworden ist, an eine politische Lösung zu glauben. Continue reading

Interview: Why China is alarmed about IS in Afghanistan

The leaders of China, Russia and other countries will discuss the threat the “Islamic State” group poses in Afghanistan at a Eurasian security summit. DW spoke to analyst Borhan Osman about Beijing’s concerns.

Afghanistan Protest gegen IS in Kabul 12. Oktober

Chinese President Xi Jinping, Russian President Vladimir Putin and other leaders will discuss about the security situation in Afghanistan and the increasing threat posed by “Islamic State” (IS) in Eurasia at this year’s Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) to be held Russian city of Ufa on July 9-10.

“Due to the spillover effect of the Islamic State terrorist activities, Afghanistan now faces a grim security situation,” Chinese vice foreign minister Cheng Guoping told reporters. SCO leaders “will certainly have in-depth discussions on the Afghan issue”, he added. “And they will talk further about how to respond to the security situation there,” Cheng was quoted as saying. China is worried about own separatist groups in the far western region of Xinjiang working with IS. Continue reading

Interview: “Chinas Sorge wegen IS in Afghanistan übertrieben”

Bei einem Regionalgipfel in Russland will China auch über die Präsenz des “Islamischen Staats” in Afghanistan sprechen. Der Experte Borhan Osman erläutert im DW-Gespräch die tatsächliche Gefahrenlage.

IS-Propaganda in den sozialen Medien

Chinas Präsident Xi Jinping, Russlands Präsident Wladimir Putin und weitere Staatsführer der Shanghaier Organisation für Zusammenarbeit treffen sich am Donnerstag (09.07.) im russischen Ufa. Auf der Tagesordnung stehen unter anderem die sich weiterhin verschlechternde Sicherheitslage in Afghanistan, auch durch den “Islamischen Staat”. Continue reading

Secret Taliban peace talks in China criticized

Once again, secret talks with Taliban representatives are said to have taken place – this time in China. Given the string of deadly attacks in their country, Afghans have reacted to the alleged meeting with skepticism.

Former Taliban fighters are photographed holding weapons before they hand them over as part of a government peace and reconciliation process at a ceremony in Jalalabad on February 8, 2015
(Photo: Noorullah Shirzada/AFP/Getty Images)

According to some Afghan and Western media outlets, an Afghan peace delegation and former officials of the Taliban regime held secret talks last week in the northwestern Chinese city of Urumqi. The Afghan delegation was reportedly headed by Masoom Stanekzai, secretary of the Afghan government’s High Peace Council, who has also been nominated as defense minister by President Ashraf Ghani.

Talks about talks

According to some reports, three representatives of the Taliban – Mullah Abdul Jalil, Mullah Abdul Razaq and Mullah Hassan Rahmani – participated in the negotiations. Also present were officials of Pakistan’s spy agency, the Inter-Services Intelligence’s (ISI), who reportedly facilitated the talks. Continue reading

Afghan mining deal with China facing failure

Afghan natural resources are valued at $3 trillion. But for security reasons, a multibillion-dollar mining deal between Kabul and Beijing is now in jeopardy. Its failure would have a big impact on the Afghan economy.

It was meant to be the largest foreign investment in the history of Afghanistan. In 2007, the state-owned China Metallurgical Group Corporation (MCC) acquired the extraction rights to the Mes Aynak mine in Logar province for $3.5 billion (2.6 billion euros). The mine, located in eastern Afghanistan, is believed to sit on one of the largest unexploited copper deposits in the world. The Chinese put its current value at $10 billion, but the ambitious project is now on the brink of failure. Not a single gram of copper has been extracted in almost five years.

The Afghan Minister of Mines and Petroleum, Wahidullah Shahrani, blames the “precarious security situation” for the delay. But he also stresses that the site is home to 1,500-year-old Buddhist temples, which must first be secured by archeologists. “To be very upfront with you, the MCC doesn’t seem to be that active,” Shahrani said, adding that he would meet the Chinese sometime soon to talk about the project’s future. Continue reading