KabuL: China has resumed its imports of Afghanistan’s pine nuts in a direct air trade route, a measure aimed at helping the Taliban-ruled country tackle the growing economic crisis.
The first cargo plane carrying 45 tons of pine nuts departed Kabul for Chinese markets, marking the restoration of the commercial corridor after the Taliban seized control of Afghanistan in August.
An Islamic Emirate spokesman, Bilal Karimi, said they hope the commercial activity will continue to boost trade ties with China.
“Export of pine nuts was a result of recent discussions between Kabul and Beijing, marking a new good beginning in relations between the two countries,” Karimi added.
“The income reaching hundreds of millions of dollars is greatly benefiting many Afghan farmers,” tweeted Wang Yu, the Chinese ambassador in Kabul after seeing off the cargo flight. “The little pine nuts bring happiness to Afghan people and good taste to Chinese people, and ‘pine nut air corridor’ is the important bond of friendship between our two countries,” the ambassador wrote.
Officials at the time estimated the trade link would enable Afghan exporters to dispatch 23,000 tons of pine nuts annually to China, bringing home up to $800 million in revenue.
The initiative boosted the Afghan pine nut industry as Chinese importers last year reportedly were contracted to purchase more than $2 billion of pine nuts over the next five years.
Beijing has long seen bilateral economic cooperation as a way to stabilize Afghanistan and deter anti-China militants from using the country as a launching pad for terrorist attacks, particularly in the western Xinjiang border region.