Chinese industrial park to be built in Kabul New City
Published: Mar 31, 2022 09:14 PM
People gather near the Sakhi Shrine during the celebration of annual Nawroz festival in Kabul, capital of Afghanistan, March 21, 2022.(Photo: Xinhua)

People gather near the Sakhi Shrine during the celebration of annual Nawroz festival in Kabul, capital of Afghanistan, March 21, 2022.(Photo: Xinhua)

Chinese firms and businessmen are eyeing more opportunities in Afghanistan, with an industrial park to be established in the Kabul New City, providing more jobs and helping train local Afghan workers, the Global Times has learned.

Since the Taliban returned to power, about 200 Chinese businessmen have arrived in Afghanistan, exploring investment chances, a staffer of China Town in Kabul told the Global Times in an exclusive interview.

In the next step, a Chinese industrial park will be set up in the Kabul New City, which will train more Afghan professional workers and help promote stability and economic security there.

"Building an industrial park in Afghanistan will reduce the security costs of enterprises. As Afghans return and investment continues to grow, the market potential of about 40 million is huge," said the staffer of China Town in Kabul.

Since the Taliban came into power in August and US troops left the country, Afghans has the chance to determine their own destiny. But reconstruction is hampered by lack of funds and Western sanctions. 

Now, China is helping Afghanistan to recover through various types of support, analysts said.

China held the third Foreign Ministers' Meeting among the Neighboring Countries of Afghanistan in Tunxi, East China's Anhui Province, on Wednesday and Thursday. The foreign ministers or other representatives of Pakistan, Iran, Russia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan attended the meeting.

Such a meeting is proof that China attaches great importance to peace, stability and prosperity in Afghanistan, which is the aspiration of the Afghan people and the common interest of the international community, Zhou Rong, a senior researcher at the Chongyang Institute for Financial Studies at Renmin University of China, told the Global Times on Thursday.

As the meeting in Tunxi was being held, China Town in Kabul was filled with a festive atmosphere, according to a Global Times special correspondent in Kabul.

"The mullahs in charge of the economy and trade said they are looking forward to being involved in the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). Only the Chinese are reliable," said an Afghan mine owner.

"Other countries all want to take something from Afghanistan and we won't let them. When the Chinese do business with us, it's good for both sides," said the mine owner.

Afghanistan is ready to give play to its unique geographical advantages, participate in BRI cooperation, and serve as a bridge for regional interconnectivity, said Acting Deputy Prime Minister of Afghan Interim Government Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar on March 24, in talks with Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi.

Wang said that China appreciates and welcomes Afghanistan's active participation in the BRI, and it is ready to make efforts to extend the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) to Afghanistan.

"Pakistan also holds a positive attitude toward Afghanistan's joining the CPEC. It is the common wish of other countries for Afghanistan to join the BRI. Turkmenistan, for example, wants to build a gas pipeline to India through Afghanistan," said Zhou.

But Zhou noted that the security situation in Afghanistan remains a major concern for Chinese companies looking for investment opportunities there.

Inadequate infrastructure in Afghanistan is another obstacle, said Zhou.

"There are many difficulties. It is important for research to go hand-in-hand with practice, which is the essence of the BRI," said the staffer of China Town in Kabul.