Visiting Kazakh Envoy Discusses Trade, Economic Ties With The Taliban

Kazakh Special Envoy for International Cooperation Yerzhan Kazykhan presents Taliban deputy head Abdul Ghani Baradar with a certificate for 5,000 tons of grain on October 17.

A visiting Kazakh presidential envoy has discussed humanitarian assistance to Afghanistan and the resumption of trade and economic ties with top members of the Taliban-led administration.

The press service of Kazakhstan’s President President Qasym-Zhomart Toqaev made the announcement on October 17 following a visit by his special envoy for international cooperation, Yerzhan Kazykhan, to Kabul, according to the TASS news agency.

This was the first visit by a Kazakh delegation to Afghanistan since the Taliban seized control of Kabul from the internationally recognized government in mid-August.

During his trip, Kazykhan held talks with the Taliban government's acting deputy head, Abdul Ghani Baradar, and the acting foreign minister, Amir Khan Muttaqi.

The sides expressed interest in resuming trade and economic relations, and in continuing educational programs for Afghan students in Kazakhstan, TASS quoted Toqaev’s press service as saying.

It quoted Kazykhan as telling the Taliban representatives that the Central Asian nation has delivered 5,000 tons of flour to Afghanistan as humanitarian aid over the past several weeks.

With Afghanistan facing a looming major humanitarian crisis in the aftermath of the Taliban's takeover, Afghanistan’s Central Asian neighbors have been wary of the security threats emanating from the war-torn country and the potential for tens of thousands of refugees to pour over the border.

Kazakhstan's overtures to the Taliban have been cautious, with Toqaev warning in early September that his country needed to brace for “external shocks and a worst-case scenario.”

But the Kazakh president later announced that the Central Asian nation was ready for “business contacts with Afghanistan," and the Kazakh ambassador to Afghanistan, Alimzhan Esengeldiev, met with Muttaqi on September 26.

In the meantime, Kazakhstan flew 35 ethnic-Kazakh Afghan nationals from Kabul to the Central Asian nation.

With reporting by TASS and RFE/RL’s Kazakh Service