According to RIA Novosti, a Russian state-owned news agency, the Taliban regime in Afghanistan is in talks with Moscow about a deal that could involve trading Russian crude oil products for raisins, minerals, and medicinal herbs.
Last week, the Taliban’s minister of industry and trade, Nuriddin Azizi, was in Moscow for trade talks.
We have come to an agreement on the import of Russian oil and oil products because Russia is a friendly country to us,” Azizi told RIA Novosti on Friday. He stated that Afghanistan intends to import 1 million tonnes of gasoline and diesel.
“We can supply Russia with hundreds of tonnes of such products.” Prices for medicinal herbs, for example, are now very high, and Russia requires such raw materials for medicine,” he said, according to the news agency.
It is unclear whether the Kremlin has reached such an agreement with the Taliban, but Azizi stated that if the plan fails, the Taliban can pay for Russian goods with money instead.
The Taliban isn’t the first to propose barter trade with Russia, which has been sanctioned severely for its invasion of Ukraine. Some Russian banks have been disconnected from the SWIFT banking system, which is used to transfer money internationally.
Significantly sanctioned Iran has also discussed a barter trade arrangement with Moscow, Russia’s deputy prime minister Alexander Novak said in May, according to Reuters, citing Russian state TV. Mehdi Safari, Iran’s deputy foreign minister, told the country’s Etemad newspaper that barter is one way the country conducts trade in the face of harsh sanctions.
According to the Times of India, which cited unnamed sources, including a government official, the Indian government was also working on a barter trade system to import fertilisers from Russia.
It is unclear whether Russia has entered into such trade agreements. However, analysts from the London-based Center for Economic and Policy Research warned in May that Russia “may well have to resort to barter trade” with non-sanctioning countries as sanctions mount. Because of the sanctions, “financing, insuring, and executing trade deals between Russia and non-sanctioning countries has become significantly more expensive,” the analysts wrote.
Russia is no stranger to barter trade. It was used during the Soviet era as well as in the years following the bloc’s demise.
“Afghanistan and Russia have a long history of mutual barter trade,” Taliban spokesman Azizi told RIA Novosti. “We would like to concentrate on the supply of food and other necessities, including petroleum products, and we are consulting with Russian partners.”
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