A subsidiary of a Chinese state-run energy firm signed a deal Thursday to extract oil in the Taliban-run Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan.
Xinjiang Central Asia Petroleum and Gas, a subsidiary of the state-run Chinese National Petroleum Corporation, will invest up to $150 million annually, which will increase to $540 million in three years, to pump oil in the Amu River Oil Basin, according to a statement released by the Taliban government. The contract, which represents the Taliban administration’s first international energy deal, was signed in the presence of the Taliban’s Deputy Prime Minister for Economic Affairs Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar and the Chinese Ambassador to Afghanistan Wang Yu.
The Taliban government will receive a 15% royalty fee and oil production will begin at 1,000 tons per day, eventually hitting 20,000 tons, Omid Khurram, a spokesman for the country’s ministry of mines and petroleum, told Bloomberg. The oil project, which is located in a basin that holds more than 80 million barrels of crude oil, will directly provide jobs to 3,000 Afghans, according to CNN.
Although no country has officially recognized the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, China has maintained close economic ties and will benefit from a recently built trade route between the two states, according to the Taliban’s Ministry For Economic Affairs. China is attempting to secure its energy supply chains and ramp up domestic power production to avoid supply shortages, the state-affiliated Global Times reported Wednesday.
The United Nations condemned the Taliban in December after the Islamic fundamentalist group banned Afghan women from attending university. Multiple foreign governments, including the United States, have refrained from officially recognizing the Taliban administration until it reverses its stance on women’s education, according to Reuters.
A spokesperson for the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan did not immediately respond to the Daily Caller News Foundation’s request for comment.
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