June 18, 2012
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China's Afghan Oil Deal Facing Difficulties

Within a week of the Afghan government's resolve to take its relationship with China to a "new strategic level", Sino-Afghan ties have run into bad weather, Asia Times has reported.

China finds itself in the middle of a cesspool of first-class political intrigue, sleaze and power plays that could hurt its good-neighborly image among the people of northern Afghanistan.

The facts are as follows. Toward the end of last year, Afghan President Hamid Karzai took the fateful decision to award the first contract for exploring, developing and extracting oil in the Amu Darya basin. In a crisply worded statement, Karzai's office put his personal stamp on the decision: "The Afghan cabinet has ordered Mines Minister Wahidullah Shahrani to sign an oil exploration contract for Amu Darya with China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC)."

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