Chinese nationals are detained by the Taliban for allegedly smuggling “precious” stones.

World News

Kabul: According to local media, the Taliban detained five men, including two Chinese nationals, for allegedly smuggling 1,000 metric tonnes of lithium-bearing rocks out of the country.

According to reports, the Chinese nationals were attempting to use their Afghan allies to transfer the “valuable” stones from Afghanistan to China via Pakistan.

According to Reporterly, the arrests and the rock confiscation took happened in Jalalabad, a border town in eastern Afghanistan.

Local sources claim that the rocks were “secretly” taken from Nuristan and Kunar, two of the many districts in Afghanistan that border Pakistan, and that they contained up to 30% lithium.

In remarks carried Sunday by Afghan television networks, the Taliban intelligence officials said that the Chinese nationals and their Afghan associates intended to smuggle the “valuable stones” to China via Pakistan.

Since a bombing and shooting attack that targeted a hotel on December 12 and injured five Chinese nationals, relations between China and Afghanistan have been rocky.

The result of this incident was Beijing’s hesitant response, as evidenced by its advise for citizens to evacuate Afghanistan.

To boost its faltering economy, Afghanistan was spotted in November of last year negotiating with China to revive the ancient Silk Road trading lines. However, it appears that Afghanistan had a similar strategy to China.

When the Taliban seized power in Afghanistan on August 15, 2021, China declared that it was ready to provide the landlocked country friendly cooperation. Additionally, the Chinese Foreign Ministry wanted to contribute positively to Afghanistan. According to Al Arabia Post, China has in reality established itself as a reliable ally of the Taliban government, alongside Pakistan, Russia, and Iran.

Beijing approaches the island nation with discretion and caution, offering nothing in the way of aid or major investments aside from a few small-scale trades in cheap items.

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