Taliban Says ‘Provisional Deal’ Signed With Russia for Crisis-Hit Afghanistan to Get Wheat & Fuel
The tentative deal is one of the first commercial pacts to have been announced by the Taliban* since it came to power in Kabul last August. The US and its allies have refused to engage politically or economically with the new gov't, despite Afghanistan facing a humanitarian crisis over a shortage of funds.
The Taliban has claimed to have signed a “provisional deal” with Moscow for the supply of wheat, diesel, gasoline and Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) to Afghanistan, the head of the Taliban’s political office in Doha, Suhail Shaheen, told Sputnik.
Another senior Taliban official from the Ministry of Commerce and Industry said that the reported provisional deal was signed for an unspecified period of time, following which a "final agreement" will be penned if both sides are satisfied with the arrangements.
“Russia has agreed to [provide] Afghanistan with two million tonnes of wheat, as well as fuel supplies, on an annual basis. These items would be procured at discounted prices,” Jawad Dabir, information director at Afghanistan’s Ministry of Commerce and Industry, told Sputnik.
He likewise informed that the Russian government has set up a “special office” in Kabul to carry out commercial negotiations.
The Russian side is yet to confirm the development.
Both Russia and China have called for economic engagement
with Kabul in view of the worsening humanitarian situation in Afghanistan documented by major donor agencies, including the UN-backed World Food Programme (WFP).
The approach to engage with the Taliban government economically contrasts with that of the United States, which froze billions of dollars of Afghan funds after the Taliban came to power last year.
27 September 2022, 16:05 GMT
Washington and its western allies have said that the funds' unfreezing is contingent upon the group adhering to a commitment to not host foreign terrorist organizations on Afghan territory, as agreed in the 2020 Doha Agreement. The Taliban has rejected allegations that they host such organizations as “unsubstantiated”.
Meanwhile, all the major global powers have time and again urged the Taliban to form an “inclusive” government with the representation of women and minorities, besides according equal rights to them in public life.
*under UN sanctions over terrorist activities