AsiaPorts and Logistics

How the Taliban takeover in landlocked Afghanistan will change shipping patterns

The Taliban takeover of landlocked Afghanistan is expected to change shipping patterns in Central Asia.

Afghanistan had previously been working with India and Iran to develop Chabahar Port in Iran’s east. The port, in the works for the best part of the decade, has been seen as an alternative to Chinese-backed port developments in Pakistan. However, with the Taliban back in charge of the country, Afghan exports and imports are now more likely to go through Karachi.

How China chooses to interact with Afghanistan and its new leaders will also be watched closely by Central Asian transport experts. The country’s strategic, crossroads location could make it an important chain in Beijing’s One Belt, One Road strategy.

“It is going to be interesting as it appears that China is willing to recognise the Taliban. It gives China an alternative route to the Indian Ocean as the two share a common border, but would not be making Pakistan happy,” commented Andre Wheeler, a Splash columnist and keen watcher of China’s Belt, Road Initiative.

Taliban insurgents entered Afghanistan’s capital Kabul over the weekend with president Ashraf Ghani leaving the country on Sunday.

Sam Chambers

Starting out with the Informa Group in 2000 in Hong Kong, Sam Chambers became editor of Maritime Asia magazine as well as East Asia Editor for the world’s oldest newspaper, Lloyd’s List. In 2005 he pursued a freelance career and wrote for a variety of titles including taking on the role of Asia Editor at Seatrade magazine and China correspondent for Supply Chain Asia. His work has also appeared in The Economist, The New York Times, The Sunday Times and The International Herald Tribune.


  1. The PRC recognised the Taliban a while back and as for it getting into bed with India is a tad fanciful. Or is it suggested India will walk away from a strategic investment and give it to the PRC?

  2. Maybe of greater significance than any suggested co-op with the PRC is the real co-op between Afghanistan and Japanese mining companies (Mitsubishi, etc) to exploit natural resources long-term. It is to be seen how or even if that co-op proceeds in the future.

    1. Indeed. But isn’t the PRC already heavily involved in those very same activities plus infrastructure projects? I suspect the Taliban will favour the PRC over Japan, a close ally of the USA.

  3. Fence sitting Indians will miss the bus yet again!
    I’ve said it before in multiple places and will say it again. The western & Indian media keeps calling the Taliban “militants”, “insurgents” etc. as if they’re some fringe group. Some even call them terrorists. They are in fact, the sons of the soil. Pretty much every village and provincial capital they’ve taken over, they’ve done so without firing a single round. Unlike what the western media has us believe, they are a popular force, much in contrast to the so-called Afghan National Army.
    It’s high time that the world gives Afghanistan its space and lets it heal and recover.

    1. Good god! Reality strikes! what most somehow seems to ignore is the 3 Brit Afghan Wars, starting in November 1878 and eventually ending in 1919 with a vow never to return. Four decades later the UK was back together with the USA. But hey, Perfidious Albion & Uncle Sam have never been warmongering busybodies!

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