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Pakistan exploring expansion of CPEC to Afghanistan: envoy


Pakistan has discussed Taliban-led Afghanistan joining the multibillion-dollar China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) infrastructure project, the Pakistani Ambassador to the country said on Monday.

“Regional connectivity is an important element of our discussion with the Afghan leadership and our way forward for our economic interaction with Afghanistan,” said Mansoor Ahmad Khan, Pakistan’s envoy to Kabul, in an interview with Reuters.

“This important project — China Pakistan Economic Corridor … provides good opportunities, good potential for providing infrastructure and energy connectivity between Afghanistan and Pakistan … [and] also connecting South Asia to the Central Asian region.”

CPEC is a central part of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), under which Beijing has pledged over $60 billion for infrastructure projects in Pakistan, much of it in the form of loans.

Mr. Khan said discussions had been held with the Taliban-led administration on this and other ways to develop the country’s economy. “There has been deep interest in terms of developing the economic connectivity of Afghanistan with Pakistan through CPEC and with other neighbouring countries, including Iran, China and Central Asian countries.”

In recent days, representatives from Pakistan, China and Russia have held meetings with the Taliban officials. Mr. Khan said security and economic development were the two main topics under discussion.

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