Taliban to buy oil from Iran as fuel prices soar in Afghanistan
The Afghan Taliban government announced on Saturday that it had signed an agreement with Iran to buy 350,000 tonnes of oil from the neighboring country.
The Taliban-run finance ministry in Kabul said its high-level delegation visited Tehran last week, where the two sides reached an agreement to help reduce the price of fuel in Afghanistan.
He said the import of petroleum products from Iran will start in the coming days and will significantly reduce prices in Afghanistan. The statement gave no further details.
Fuel and gasoline prices have risen at an unprecedented rate in the country, where a liter of gasoline currently costs 99 cents and diesel $1.32.
The Afghan and Iranian sides also agreed to establish a joint committee to propose ways to facilitate trade and transit of petroleum products, establish a gas pipeline for energy imports and build refineries in Afghanistan, according to the press release from the ministry.
The contract signed with Iran will allow Kabul to import up to 350,000 tonnes of oil “based on a standard and correct price”, said Abdul Ghafor, head of the Afghanistan Oil and Gas Corporation, quoted by local media.
Ghafor said talks with Russia and Turkmenistan were also underway to sign energy import deals.
The United Nations, in its latest assessment, says rising global energy and food prices are seeping into the Afghan economy, leading to high inflation.
In June, diesel prices rose nearly 23% and annual prices of basic household items rose 50%.
The UN ranks war-torn Afghanistan among the world’s largest humanitarian emergencies, where it estimates that 18.9 million people, nearly half the population, could be acutely food insecure between June and November 2022, partly due to severe drought and economic crisis.