Taliban administration officials say that they have struck a deal with their counterparts in Moscow over business matters and the import of Russian oil and gas. Moscow is stepping up its relations with Afghanistan amid global unrest and as the West searches for gas substitutes to avoid a catastrophic energy crisis.
The Taliban’s Ministry of Commerce and Industry said in a newsletter published on Friday, August 26, that their delegation’s visit to Moscow included talks about attracting Russian investors to Afghanistan and reaching an agreement for the purchase of oil and gas from Russia.
Nooruddin Azizi, the Taliban’s Minister of Commerce and Industry, has stated that since most Russian and Afghan banks are affected by sanctions, it is likely that the payments will go through a third country that he has not specified.
According to Taliban Minister, Azizi, who was quoted in the newsletter, the technical elements of the agreement have not yet been finalized and a team is still in Moscow to finalize them.
With the sanctions in place on the Taliban, and on Russia for the invasion of Ukraine, the process of transporting oil from Moscow, the Russian capital, to Kabul has proven to be rather difficult, which has reportedly affected the trade between the two areas.
According to reports, Russia and Afghanistan already trade a total of roughly $200 million in goods annually. Afghanistan already imports most of its food and oil from Russia.
The agreement was reached at a time when tensions are high; the West is looking for alternate sources of energy to Russian gas to avert a severe energy shortage when international sanctions are in place for both the Taliban and Russia.