Afghanistan is once again eager to develop the Wakhan Corridor along the China border, Afghan Second Vice-President Mohammad Karim Khalili said yesterday in Beijing.
"It is an opportunity for both Afghanistan and China to boost security and trade cooperation by opening the 76-km-long border shared by Afghanistan and China," he said.
Afghan President Hamid Karzai proposed the idea of constructing a Wakhan road connecting Afghanistan and China to his Chinese counterpart, President Hu Jintao, last year. The Afghan vice-president said "the Chinese side agreed to begin a feasibility study on the road building" during his meeting with Premier Wen Jiabao in January.
Fu Xiaoqiang, senior researcher with the China Institute of Contemporary International Relations in Beijing, said that Afghanistan has asked China on several occasions to open the border in the Wakhan Corridor as an alternative supply route for fighting the Taliban.
The nearly impassable corridor, located in the Pamir mountain region, poses technical difficulties for China to build a road. But Khalili insisted that the road would be valuable to the region and worth the hardship and expense.
The US sees China's role in maintaining stability and reconstruction in Afghanistan an important part of the anti-terrorism policy.
Western media reported in early March that NATO wants China to support its military operation in Afghanistan.
Wang Shida, a researcher in Afghan studies at the China Institute of Contemporary International Relations, said building the Wakhan road is a huge challenge with a huge cost.
"The corridor is even not easily accessible because it is located at an extremely high altitude on the Pamir, which is among the world's highest mountains and is closed for many months a year because of adverse weather," he said.