The Taliban arrested five men, which included two Chinese nationals, over the allegations of smuggling around 1,000 metric tonnes of lithium-bearing rocks out of Afghanistan, reported local media. 

According to reports, the Chinese nationals were attempting to smuggle the lithium rocks from Afghanistan to China through Pakistan with the help of their Afghan allies. 

The men were arrested and the ‘precious’ stones were confiscated in Jalalabad, eastern Afghanistan’s border city, according to Reporterly. 


As per the local sources, around 30 per cent of lithium was present in rocks and the smugglers had extracted them “secretly” from Nuristan and Kunar, two of various Afghan provinces that lie along the border shared with Pakistan. 

According to Reporterly, the Chinese nationals had planned along with their Afghan collaborators to illegally transport the lithium rocks to China, stated the Taliban intelligence officials.

Since December 12, China and Afghanistan’s relationship has become dicey when a hotel was targeted in a bomb and gun attack, in which five Chinese nationals were injured. 

After the attack, Beijing adopted a tepid approach as China issued an advisory asking citizens to leave Afghanistan. 

In November last year, Afghanistan was in talks with China over the rekindling of the ancient Silk Road for trade so as to help the country’s dwindling economy. 

WATCH | Gravitas: 1 year of Taliban rule in Afghanistan

When the Taliban came to power in Afghanistan on August 15, 2021, China stated that it is willing to extend friendly co-operation to the landlocked country. 

The Chinese foreign ministry also expressed its intention to play a constructive role in Afghanistan. China had also emerged as the Taliban regime’s trusted allies like Russia, Iran and Pakistan, stated the Al Arabia Post.

(With inputs from agencies)

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