China’s Xinjiang Central Asia Petroleum and Gas Co inked an agreement with the Taliban in Afghanistan to extract oil.

According to a proclamation from the Taliban regime, the Taliban and a Chinese company have made a deal to extract oil from the Amu Darya basin in Northern Afghanistan. This is the first significant international energy extraction agreement that the Taliban have penned since assuming power in 2021. Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, the Taliban’s Deputy Prime Minister for Economic Affairs, and Chinese Ambassador Wang Yu were both at the contract signing in Kabul. Baradar commented that this contract was in Afghanistan’s best interests and would help to strengthen its financial situation. 

The contract provides up to $150 million of investments annually and will increase to $540 million in three years. It was also stated that the project would directly produce job opportunities for 3,000 Afghans.

Though no country has recognized the Taliban, China has put substantial resources into the region. However, as international contributions to the country have been mostly frozen since the Taliban’s return to power, Afghanistan is in need of economic betterment. In addition, the Taliban have recently been condemned for marginalizing women and minorities, such as their prohibition of female NGO workers and suspension of university education for female students.