Experts believe that China’s interest lies more in securing control over the supply and prices of lithium than it does in investing in the economic growth of Afghanistan, despite the fact that China is now in negotiations with the Taliban to gain access to Afghanistan’s lithium reserves.
China is reportedly in talks with the Taliban to access Afghanistan’s lithium deposits, potentially worth billions. While the deal on paper seems impressive, the mineral resources in Afghanistan have only been sketchily surveyed, and the security issues in the region make it unlikely that China will be able to make a significant profit from mining in the country. Furthermore, few countries recognize the Taliban government and many of its cabinet members are under international sanctions for terrorism, which creates significant legal and regulatory uncertainty. Experts have suggested that China is more interested in securing control over the supply and prices of lithium than investing in Afghanistan’s economic development. They fear that China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) will lead to Afghanistan becoming indebted to China, similar to Pakistan, which has already become increasingly indebted to China through the BRI.