Russia Monitor is a review of the most important events related to Russian internal and external security, as well as its foreign policies.
Date: 30 September 2022 Author: Grzegorz Kuczyński
Taliban-Ruled Afghanistan Is New Market For Russian Fuel
Through a new deal with the Taliban, Moscow is following two goals. First, it embarks on a new market as Western nations are making efforts to destroy Russia’s economy with sanctions. What counts more is that Russia won a new market while economic benefits seem rather secondary. Secondly, Russia is seeking to boost its political influence in Taliban-ruled Afghanistan.
Russia has approved a provisional agreement with the Taliban government to supply oil products, gas, and wheat to Afghanistan. This is the first international economic deal made by the Taliban and Russia has made a huge step towards recognition for the Islamist group’s new government in Kabul. The deal would involve Russia supplying around one million tons of gasoline, one million tons of diesel, 500,000 tons of liquefied petroleum gas (LPG), and two million tons of wheat annually. Russia had agreed to a discount to global markets on goods that would be delivered to Afghanistan, Acting Afghan Commerce and Industry Minister Haji Nooruddin Azizi told Reuters. He did not elaborate on payment methods, though. Afghanistan is effectively cut off from the global banking system amid sanctions. Russia must also be aware of possible restrictive measures. The deal is the first known major international economic agreement struck by the Taliban since its return to power. The Biden administration had earlier announced it would create a new fund out of some of Afghanistan’s frozen central bank reserves, aiming to alleviate the country’s humanitarian crisis. The agreement would run for a trial period, after which both sides were expected to sign a longer-term deal. Russian gasoline and food will be delivered to Afghanistan by road and rail via Central Asian countries and perhaps Iran. Russia does not officially recognize the Taliban’s government, but the deal gives strong legitimacy to the Taliban, designated as a terrorist group by Moscow. Russia is one of the few countries to maintain a diplomatic presence in Afghanistan. An Afghan Taliban trade delegation also visited the SPIEF economic forum in St. Petersburg in June 2022.
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