Kazakhstan’s ambassador to Pakistan, Yerzhan Kistafin, stated that although commerce between the two countries, which stood at US $45 million in 2020, increased to US $95 million in 2021, there is still more space for progress through the exchange of trade delegations and fostering cooperation.
According to the TASS news agency, President Qasym-Zhomart Toqaev of Kazakhstan’s press office made the announcement on October 17 during a trip to Kabul by his special envoy for international cooperation, Yerzhan Kazykhan.
Since the Taliban overthrew the country’s internationally recognised government and took over Kabul in the middle of August, this was the first trip to Afghanistan by a team from Kazakhstan.
He added that there were already about 60 Russian enterprises operating in Kazakhstan and that significant changes had occurred in the global economic environment that might improve the standard of living in both nations.
He emphasised that both Pakistan and Kazakhstan have a large youth population and that both nations should take advantage of this human resource base. According to him, “Kazakhstan has the largest economy in Central Asia and a great deal of economic potential“.
Regarding air travel between the two nations, Mr Kistafin stated that SCAT Airlines of Kazakhstan would begin direct flights in January to important Pakistani cities like Islamabad and Karachi.
It reported that Kazykhan informed the Taliban delegates that the Central Asian country had just donated 5,000 tonnes of flour to Afghanistan as humanitarian relief.
Afghanistan’s Central Asian neighbours have been apprehensive of the security risks coming from the war-torn country and the possibility that tens of thousands of refugees will flood over the border because of the approaching catastrophic humanitarian disaster in the aftermath of the Taliban’s takeover.
Kazakhstan has been cautious in its outreach to the Taliban; in early September, Toqaev advised his nation to prepare for “foreign shocks and the worst-case scenario.”
However, the Kazakh president later declared that the country was prepared for “business contacts with Afghanistan,” and on September 26, Alimzhan Esengeldiev, the Kazakh ambassador to Afghanistan, met with Muttaqi.
In the interim, Kazakhstan flew 35 Afghans of ethnic Kazakh descent to the Central Asian country from Kabul.