"China and Afghanistan … can use the [Belt and Road] initiative as a way to bring peace and prosperity to the region," Sakhi Danish, a journalist with newspaper Daily Outlook Afghanistan, said in an interview with Beijing Review on April 26.
Danish was one of around 30 Afghan journalists who visited China in late April. The delegation, most of whose members had previously never been to China, traveled to several cities. The group completed their tour in Beijing, where they visited media outlets and universities to exchange ideas with Chinese peers and academics.
China's rapid development and its recent proposal to build the Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st-Century Maritime Silk Road, better known collectively as the Belt and Road Initiative, have aroused strong interest among the Afghan media. An article about the Belt and Road Initiative's impact on Afghanistan, written by Danish, was published in Daily Outlook Afghanistan in early April.
Danish told Beijing Review that "Afghan people are tired of civil war and conflict. They're looking at this unique chance to develop their economy, and they really hope this initiative can somehow help Afghanistan."
"The Belt and Road Initiative has given much hope to Afghanistan. Many times, the government has said it has already aligned most domestic plans with the initiative," Danish said.
"Afghanistan needs to develop dry ports along the trade and transit routes, and it [the initiative] is perhaps one of those rare chances that Afghanistan has found," Danish said.
Danish said the initiative is expected to have a significant impact on Afghanistan's economic growth. Afghanistan will regain geographical-economic importance by connecting North and East Asia with South and West Asia. Once again Afghanistan will have the possibility to become an economic hub acting as a conduit for cross-regional movements of goods, data and energy, Danish said.
"China plays a positive and constructive role in Afghanistan's peace process and reconstruction," Danish said. "Afghanistan has good investment opportunities to offer, and China should continue to invest in Afghanistan."
"But internal politics--as is known, there is political chaos in Afghanistan--and foreign interference might be the main barriers to Afghanistan enjoying the benefits of the initiative," Danish added.
Copyedited by Chris Surtees
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