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HOW CPEC MATTERS FOR AFGHANISTAN?

Mr Kumar - - 
AFGHANISTAN is a land-locked country and at the same time there is a lot of potential in the sector of international trade. Unfortunately, this potential of Afghanistan could not be harmonized with the wishes and aspirations of the Afghan people.
Afghanistan was a transport hub traditionally in case of ancient Silk Road connectivity but it lost this position after civil wars, the Soviet invasion in the 1980s as well as the US invasion twenty years back. Previous US-backed regimes could not utilize the resources and potential of Afghanistan properly.
Now time is changing. The Taliban have formed an interim government in Afghanistan and are now focusing on the development of socio-economic aspects of the people.
The Taliban want to revive the economic situation of Afghanistan. They would like to be connected with the rest of the world.
China has launched a multi-billion dollar project: China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) which can be considered as a blessing for Afghanistan.
Now China, Pakistan and Russia have become well wishers of Afghanistan for the betterment of Afghanistan. Already, China has declared that its embassy in Afghanistan is functional. Russia shows interest to work together with Afghanistan.
Pakistan also wants to provide assistance to Afghanistan. Pakistan hopes that Afghanistan will join the multibillion-dollar China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC). At the same time, Islamabad wants Kabul in China’s Belt and Road Initiative.
Pakistan can give Afghanistan Transport and trans-shipment facilities for Afghanistan. Utilization of Gwadar port and CPEC by Afghanistan is some sort of example in this regard.
A write-up co-authored by Xie Jun and Chu Daye titled “Extension of CPEC into Afghanistan to boost local exports, journey of peace: analysts”  in Global Times says “Afghanistan has become the first among several landlocked Central Asian countries to benefit from using the Chinese-invested Gwadar Port in Pakistan in trans-shipment trade.
In 2020, the country imported 43,000 tons of fertilizers via the port, contributing to its agricultural development”. According to this article in Global Times, Zhou Rong, a senior researcher at the Chongyang Institute for Financial Studies at Renmin University of China, said that if the CPEC is extended into Afghanistan, China could help build or improve infrastructure between Afghanistan and Pakistan to facilitate their economic exchange.
According to Tribune Express report on May 24, 2021, a spokesperson of the Chinese Foreign Ministry says, “CPEC to be extended to Afghanistan, other countries and extension would boost faster economic development in Afghanistan. Pakistan’s leading daily, Pak Observer’s report on September 04, 2021 that Taliban Spokesperson Mujahid said the extension of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) by linking it with Afghanistan is very important.
He clearly stated the Taliban value China’s Belt and Road Initiative as the multi-billion-dollar project will revive the ancient Silk Road. The Taliban spokesperson in an interview with an Italian newspaper said that China will be their “major partner” in efforts to rebuilt war-torn Afghanistan.
He said that China is ready to make the investment in Afghanistan and help rebuild the war-ravaged country. Using CPEC and Gwadar port, Afghanistan can reach the South Asian states, South-East Asian States, East Asia, Middle East, Africa. War ravaged country needs a huge number of investments at this juncture.
If Afghanistan is connected with Gwadar port and CPEC, many development partners will play a strong and structurally-effective role to take part in the development process in Afghanistan. For example, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Malaysia may take part in Afghanistan. Many Chinese companies will be interested to invest in Afghanistan directly. Ultimately, Afghanistan will be benefitted.
The China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) is one of China’s most ambitious projects. These include highways, railways, fiber optic networks, energy, ports, economic zones and many other projects. It is expected to dramatically improve Afghanistan’s infrastructure. A section of this economic corridor has already been launched. Goods have already been transported from China through Pakistan to the port of Gwadar.
From there, Chinese goods went to Africa and West Asia. There are also potential for Afghanistan in this regard. China is already talking about linking Afghanistan to the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).
China had been in talks with the Kabul government for a couple of years about plans to build a highway between Peshawar and Kabul, although the Afghan government has not agreed, fearing the United States will be unhappy. Now the Taliban want to be connected with CPEC for their own interest.
Moreover, China is building a road to the Afghan border through the Wakhan Corridor in Xinjiang province. A huge number of goods and products of Afghanistan will be exported through this port if Afghanistan is connected with this port finally.
Afghanistan can import its essential commodities from various countries using this port and CPEC connectivity project. Chinese companies will heavily invest in the energy sector of Afghanistan to fulfil the demand of Afghan people.
Many countries including China, Pakistan, countries of ASEAN, GCC can contribute to the reconstruction and development process in Afghanistan. CPEC has brought a new dream and aspiration for Afghanistan.
Now it is high time for Afghanistan to utilize it to safeguard the interest of Afghan people. Usage and utilization of CPEC by Afghanistan will develop Afghanistan in the years ahead.

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