• On Wednesday, a Taliban-appointed spokesman to the Ministry of Commerce and Industry confirmed that Kabul signed an agreement with Russia to import key commodities "within days or weeks," including fuel and wheat, at a "special discount."[1]
  • This comes following reports that the countries had struck an agreement, marking the Taliban's first major economic deal since returning to power in 2021. Moscow agreed to supply about 1M tons of gasoline, 1M tons of diesel, 500K tons of liquefied petroleum gas (LPG), and 2M tons of wheat.[2]
  • Zamir Kabulov, Russia's special representative for Afghanistan, also confirmed the "preliminary agreements," which will initially run for an unspecified trial period that could be extended for a longer-term arrangement.[3]
  • Kabul currently buys gas and oil from Iran and Turkmenistan and has strong trades with Pakistan, but is reportedly seeking to further diversify its trading partners. Following an Afghan trade delegation visit to Moscow last month, a technical team spent weeks reaching this deal.[4]
  • The trade arrangement comes as the humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan worsens amid a severe two-year drought and international isolation. Humanitarian aid has been sharply curtailed, and the Afghan central bank's $7B in assets have been frozen.[5]
  • Earlier in September, Washington announced plans to transfer $3.5B from frozen Afghan assets to a newly established Swiss-based trust fund, reportedly to stabilize the Afghan economy and pay for critical imports such as electricity.[6]


Narrative A

The significance of the agreement between Russia and the Taliban government shouldn't be underestimated. While the West is running out of options to continue exerting influence in Afghanistan, Russia and China are in the process of filling the vacuum left by the withdrawal. It's clear that sanctions have failed; now, it's time for the West to take action to prevent Afghanistan from becoming a pariah state.

Narrative B

Despite the agreement between the Taliban and Moscow, Russia doesn't have much to offer Afghanistan, given that its economy is increasingly standing on shaky ground itself following the Ukraine war — it's China and Pakistan that will benefit most from the US withdrawal from Afghanistan. Even a possible official recognition of the Taliban government by Moscow is unlikely to change this.

Nerd narrative

There's a 70% chance that Russia will recognize the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan before 2030, according to the Metaculus prediction community.

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