Kabul: The Taliban have signed a provisional deal with Russia to supply gasoline, diesel, gas and wheat to Afghanistan, Acting Afghan Commerce and Industry Minister Nooruddin Azizi told Reuters.
Azizi said his ministry was working to diversify its trading partners and that Russia had offered the Taliban administration a discount to average global commodity prices.
Azizi said the deal would involve Russia supplying around one million tonnes of gasoline, one million tonnes of diesel, 500,000 tonnes of liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) and two million tonnes of wheat annually.
Azizi said the agreement would run for an unspecified trial period, after which both sides were expected to sign a longer term deal if they were content with the arrangement.
He declined to give details on pricing or payment methods, but said Russia had agreed to a discount to global markets on goods that would be delivered to Afghanistan by road and rail.
Azizi said international data showed most Afghans were living below the poverty line, and his office was working to support trade and the economy through international outreach.
“Afghans are in great need,” he said. “Whatever we do, we do it based on national interest and the people’s benefit.”
He said Afghanistan also received some gas and oil from Iran and Turkmenistan and had strong trade ties with Pakistan, but also wanted to diversify.
“A country … shouldn’t be dependent on just one country, we should have alternative ways,” he said.