China refuses connect Afghanistan with Silk Road trade via Azure Route
Dushanbe, Tajikistan: China has refused to connect Afghanistan with its Silk Road trade corridor project via Azure Route, claim sources
According to detail, Afghanistan requested China to connect its Azure route going through Wakhan belt to link Afghanistan to Europe via the Central Asian States but China is reluctant to connect Afghanistan to its trade route due to fears that religious Islamists might exploit this link to destabilize its Xinjian province where purists Islamists are already present and have been committing act of terrorism. “Islamists in Xinjian province are supported by Afghan terrorists and are directly linked with Taliban in Afghanistan so China cannot take risk to start traffic of Afghans to its sensitive province because Afghans are popular to bring purist Islam and terrorism to any country they travel for business, claim sources in Chinese defence establishment.
Sources maintain that Afghan government asked Beijing to help connect both countries via a land route in the northern Wakhan corridor and discussions regarding this issue took place between Ashraf Ghani and Chinese officials during the Afghan President visit to China last October.
Afghanistan needs to minimize its dependence upon Pakistan and Iran for its trade shipments due to instable relations with these countries. Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, who has served at the World Bank and has excellent relations among World Bank establishment is pursuing to find finances from World Bank to construct expressway from Kabul to Chinese border through its Azure route passing via Wakhan belt.
“Afghan President talked with Chinese leadership for linking Afghanistan with China via its Azure route but Chinese leadership does not buy this idea and keeping quite to accept this request of Afghanistan because credible intelligence reports that connecting Afghanistan for regular large scale trade will be devastating for Chinese security”, said sources in Dushanbe.
It may be mentioned that Pakistan since last six months is thoroughly checking containers coming and going through Pakistan from Afghanistan and security and custom clearance has become very strict resulting delays in cargo shipments. According to the Afghanistan Chamber of Commerce and Industry, this route has seen a 40 percent decline in trade just in six months. While Iran is also discouraging use of Afghan drivers and staff for containers going to main land of Iran and mostly Iranian drivers and staff are allowed to drive to and from to Chabahar port that is second important cargo and transit route for Afghanistan. It may be mentioned that Iran has already refused to work on railway network connecting Afghanistan with Iranian towns.
Afghan traders claim that they have had very tough days with the Karachi port in Pakistan where abrupt and unforeseen delays in shipments of fresh goods and parish-able items are causing lose of millions of dollars to Afghan traders.