Taliban welcomes China to mine in Afghanistan: Chinese State Media

Chinese state media says the Taliban is pushing for China to mine in Afghanistan, but claims efforts are stalled because the United States is "aggravating the economic collapse."

Updated: December 20, 2021 - 11:43pm

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The Taliban is pushing China to mine in Afghanistan, according to The Global Times, a Chinese state-controlled media outlet. 

Afghanistan is home to an estimated $1 trillion to $3 trillion worth of rare earth metals. China is home to about two-thirds of rare earths, and the communist country already provides more than 85% of rare metals and minerals globally, according to the South China Morning Post (SCMP).

The Global Times touted the most recent development in an article Thursday titled "Chinese firm's copper mine project in Afghanistan hasn't started, despite Taliban's push."

Work on the copper mine has been reportedly stalled for years due to issues surrounding Afghanistan's security.

Taliban officials are hoping that work will resume quickly on the mine, which is expected to be the second-largest copper mine in the world.

The Global Times blamed the United States for the "severe challenges" facing the jihadist-controlled nation.

The paper cited anonymous Chinese analysts who reportedly "said that the US should stop aggravating the economic collapse in Afghanistan by lifting sanctions on the country and returning the frozen funds that belong to the country, allowing the Taliban to use the money to buy much-needed supplies for the Afghan people." The state media then applauded China for "helping the Afghan people."

The Chinese Embassy in Afghanistan warned that foreign companies or people coming to Afghanistan needed to obtain a permit before inspecting mineral resources. Reports have surfaced of foreign citizens being detained for not obtaining a permit. 

The Taliban were praised in November as friendly by Chinese investors exploring lithium mining projects in Afghanistan.

"Taliban officials expressed a welcoming attitude toward Chinese companies, as they seek to rebuild the war-torn country," the Global Times reported in November. "Chinese officials have also extended helping hands to the Afghan people by providing humanitarian aid and resuming certain trade channels."

SCMP reported Saturday that China is sending supplies to Afghanistan as the impoverished nation braces for winter. This move will help build ties between the Taliban and the Chinese government. 

The supplies include about 70,000 blankets and more than 40,000 winter coats. Afghan and Chinese officials also plan to build a mosque and two wells in Kabul. 

The Taliban showed signs of cooperating with China in October when they reportedly removed Uyghur militants from an area near the border with China. Uyghur Muslims are an ethnic minority facing genocide in China.