China and Pakistan concur at a summit in Islamabad to expand the Belt and Road programme to Afghanistan.
After a meeting in Islamabad on Saturday, it was decided that the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), a component of the Belt and Road plan, will be expanded into Afghanistan.
China and Pakistan agreed to "continue their humanitarian and economic assistance for the Afghan people and enhance development cooperation in Afghanistan" during the fourth round of the Foreign Minister-level Pakistan-China Strategic Dialogue held in Islamabad between Chinese Foreign Minister Qin Gang and his Pakistani counterpart Bilawal Bhutto Zardari.
Both sides urged all parties to work together for a peaceful, stable, prosperous, and united Afghanistan that would decisively confront terrorism and live in harmony with its neighbours, according to a statement from Pakistan's foreign ministry. The international community must continue to help and aid Afghanistan, and one way to do this is by unfreezing its abroad financial assets, as both parties stressed.
It added, “The two sides agreed to continue their humanitarian and economic assistance for the Afghan people and enhance development cooperation in Afghanistan, including through extension of CPEC to Afghanistan.”
The action is anticipated to open the door for the country, which is suffering from sanctions and an economic crisis, to receive billions of dollars in investments for infrastructure projects.
The two parties praised CPEC as a "shining example of Belt and Road cooperation which has accelerated socio-economic growth, job creation, and improvement of people's livelihoods in Pakistan" as it neared its ten-year milestone in 2023. The nations also decided to pursue crucial areas of cooperation, such as renewable energy, agriculture, research, and technology, along with the Karachi Circular Railway.
Amir Khan Muttaqi, the Afghan foreign minister nominated by the Taliban, is also being hosted by Pakistan in order to attend a trilateral conference with China and Pakistan.
During the Taliban's takeover, Muttaqi has travelled to Pakistan twice. The Pakistani Taliban, an autonomous militant organisation that is affiliated with and protected by the Afghan Taliban, has recently increased the number of attacks it has carried out across the nation, worrying Pakistan. In addition to talking about the border concerns between the two countries, Muttaqi is anticipated to address the issue of Afghan refugees living in Pakistan.
Beijing is providing finance for the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor in Pakistan, which consists of a number of large-scale initiatives in the fields of agriculture, electricity generation, and road building. The One Road Project, commonly known as CPEC, is a component of China's Belt and Road Initiative, a worldwide initiative that seeks to recreate the Silk Road and connect China to every region of Asia.