China’s interest in establishing trade relations with its neighbouring country Afghanistan after the takeover by the Afghan Taliban is not limited to boosting its trade markets. Rather, it intends to bring normalcy and peace in the region since the United States and NATO allies left Afghanistan in August after nearly 20 years of war. In its bid to trade relations with the war-ravaged country, pine nut trade is proving to be starting point. Lately, China has reactivated a direct air trade link with Afghanistan in a bid to import Afghani pine nuts to meet the growing demand of this dry fruit in the Chinese markets. Not only will the trade appease the taste buds of Chinese consumers, but it will also assist the new Taliban rulers in dealing with a deepening economic and humanitarian crisis. Beijing has long viewed bilateral economic cooperation as a way to stabilize Afghanistan and deter anti-China militants from using the country as a launching pad for terrorist attacks, particularly in the western Xinjiang border region.
The development is positive and intentions are good as more such measures will help deal with the scourge of militancy in this part of the world. Besides Afghanistan, Pakistan can also benefit from the generous largesse offered by the Chinese government. Pakistan also has vast areas in Balochistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, where bumper crop of pine nut is produced. Islamabad already exports its pine nuts to China and now it needs to pay more attention to increasing this crop and using modern techniques for its early harvest. Overall, China is playing a positive role by encouraging local economies and making them partners in national development leading to progress at the international level. Ultimately, the trade will make a positive impact on local farmers who have endured decades of warfare and civil anarchy. The pine nut trade is a billion dollar industry and a block comprising China, Pakistan and Afghanistan can boost its production for the ultimate benefit of the masses of these states.