Taliban Claims to Sign $6.5 Billion in Mining Contracts with Chinese, British, Turkish Companies

Taliban: In the presence of Deputy Prime Minister for Economic Affairs Mullah Abdul Ghani
Office of the Deputy Prime Minister for Economic Affairs - Afghanistan

The Taliban jihadist terror organization held a press conference on Thursday to sign contracts the terrorists claimed were worth more than $6.5 billion, giving Chinese, British, Iranian, and Turkish companies access to Afghanistan’s vast mineral wealth.

The contracts, Taliban Minister of Petroleum and Mines Shahabuddin Delawar reportedly said, would give international companies access to seven mines primarily used to extract gold, iron, and lead. Afghanistan is believed to be home to up to $3 trillion in untapped mineral resources, which has been fully controlled by the Taliban since August 2021, when far-left American President Joe Biden’s decision to extend the 20-year Afghan War that April resulted in the Taliban launching a nationwide conquest campaign toppling the corrupt U.S.-backed government. The Taliban is currently the uncontested government of Afghanistan despite no foreign state formally recognizing it as such.

Taliban fighters stand guard at an entrance gate of the Sardar Mohammad Dawood Khan military hospital in Kabul on November 3, 2021, a day after an attack claimed by the Taliban's hardline rivals the Islamic State-Khorasan (IS-K), in which at least 19 people were killed. (Wakil Kohsar/AFP via Getty Images) INSERT: President Joe Biden speaks about the situation in Afghanistan in the East Room of the White House on August 26, 2021, in Washington, DC.(Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

Taliban fighters stand guard at an entrance gate of the Sardar Mohammad Dawood Khan military hospital in Kabul on November 3, 2021 (Wakil Kohsar/AFP via Getty Images).
Insert: President Joe Biden speaks about the situation in Afghanistan in the East Room of the White House on August 26, 2021, in Washington, DC (Drew Angerer/Getty Images).

The press conference on Thursday was aimed at encouraging foreign investment in the Taliban’s Afghanistan; the diversity of the companies involved in the deals indicates that global condemnation of the terrorist organization in the early days of its return to power has not translated into meaningful economic isolation of the group. The billion-dollar deals the Taliban has boasted of signing, most prominently with Chinese companies, undermine calls from its allies to unfreeze Afghan government assets held abroad and lift sanctions in the name of offering humanitarian aid to the Afghan people.

The Afghan broadcaster Tolo News reported on Thursday that the mining deals would hand over control of seven mines to the highest bidders. Six of the companies listed are Afghan corporations, but some received approval to mine the territories in question along with foreign partners. The gold mines in Takhar province, Afghanistan, for example, were placed under the purview of the China-Afghanistan Company, attracting a $310 million investment. The British companies GBM and AD Resources partnered with the Afghan corporation Shamsh for a $572 million investment into part of an iron mine in Ghoryan; another part of the Ghoryan mine will be under Turkish control through the corporation Epcol. Epcol also invested in a lead mine in Ghor province.

Iran’s Ehya Sepahan and Parsian corporations participated in the largest single project announced on Thursday: a $1.17-billion investment into yet another part of the massive Ghoryan mine:

The Taliban’s news agency, Bakhtar, described the Mines and Petroleum Industry as using the event to invite a variety of foreign investors to consider partnering with the terrorist group to profit from Afghan minerals.

“During the meeting, the Acting Minister of Mines and Petroleum welcomed foreign investors for their interest to work [sic] in Afghanistan’s mineral resources,” Bakhtar reported, “and stated that those foreign investors who want to invest in the mines sector in the country would be supported by the ministry.”

Attracting foreign investment is necessary for the success of the Taliban, particularly given that the IMF and World Bank cut them off. China has so far been the largest and most eager supporter of the Taliban, celebrating the two-year anniversary of the fall of Kabul in August with statements claiming the jihadists have succeeded in promoting “economic development, corruption eradication, drug prohibition, improvement of people’s livelihoods, and social security.”

Taliban leaders named China as a top potential economic partner shortly after their seizure of Kabul and continue to promote the Communist Party’s growing economic influence in the country. Chinese state media, in turn, almost immediately began to celebrate the “huge opportunities for mutually beneficial cooperation … especially in sectors such as utilities and mining” with the Taliban in August 2021.

Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi meets with Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, political chief of Afghanistan’s Taliban, in north China’s Tianjin, July 28, 2021 (Li Ran/Xinhua via Getty).

Taliban leaders have since signed deals to allow China to extract Afghan oil, build mega-factories on Afghan soil, and install high-tech surveillance systems to better allow the jihadists to repress the Afghan population.

The top story on Friday on the English-language page of the Bakhtar News Agency is a story promoting China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), a global infrastructure plan in which Beijing offers poor countries predatory loans to be used on overpriced infrastructure projects. When the countries cannot pay, the Communist Party seizes the projects or uses its newfound influence to force the country to support China’s geopolitical goals.

“Afghanistan supports the Belt and Road Initiative, and it is prepared to join the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, looking forward to practical cooperation with China on Belt and Road projects,” Bakhtar News declared on Friday.

The Taliban became an official BRI partner in May.

The Taliban has also been courting the radical Islamist regime in Iran for business deals, despite the Taliban being a Sunni terrorist organization and Iran being a Shiite state sponsor of terrorism. Despite some territorial squabbles – a Taliban terrorist threatened to “conquer” Iran in May over a water-sharing dispute on their mutual border – senior Taliban officials have sought business deals with Tehran.

Taliban “Foreign Minister” Mawlavi Amir Khan Muttaqi met with Iranian lawmakers last week to discuss expanding trade, Bakhtar reported, telling the lawmakers that “Afghanistan is a good market for Iranian products” but required more investment in improving shipping and transit.

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