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Mutual relations

Diplomatic relations between Afghanistan and Czechoslovakia were established on 13 October 1937, when a friendship agreement was signed by the representatives of both countries in Paris. The Czechoslovak diplomatic mission operated in Kabul from 1949 to 1992 (since 1960 as the Embassy). The Czech Republic was recognized by Afghanistan on the day of its establishment on 1 January 1993. Since mid-2002, diplomatic relations of the Czech Republic were maintained from Pakistan through the Czech Embassy in Islamabad. On 16 April 2007, the Embassy of the Czech Republic in Kabul was reopened and still operates there today.

Czech-Afghan relations began to develop after the two countries gained independence (Czechoslovakia in October 1918 and Afghanistan in August 1919). There are no reports of Czechs staying in Afghanistan before this time. Diplomatic relations were established by an agreement on friendship between the Czechoslovak Republic and the Kingdom of Afghanistan, signed in October 1937 in Paris, but World War II postponed their fulfillment (establishment of diplomatic missions) by twelve years. The Czechoslovak diplomatic mission was established in Kabul in 1949 and the Afghan embassy in Prague was opened in 1950. Due to the favorable development of relations between the two countries, their diplomatic missions were promoted to the level of Embassies in July 1960. The most significant event of mutual relations in this period was the visit of King Zahir Shah of Afghanistan to Czechoslovakia in 1970.

In the period after the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan in 1979 and the creation of the so-called Afghan Democratic Republic, relations between the then undemocratic governments of the two countries were intensified. Foreign relations were facilitated by a Protocol on Cooperation between the Ministries of Foreign Affairs of the two states, signed in Kabul in July 1980, and by a Consular Convention concluded in April 1981 in Prague. Mutual relations in the legal affairs were regulated by the Treaties of June 1981. In the 1990s, during the civil war, which broke out after the withdrawal of Soviet troops from Afghanistan, diplomatic relations between the two countries virtually ceased. The Czechoslovak Embassy in Kabul was eventually evacuated in 1992. Afghanistan was subsequently co-accredited to the Embassy of the Czech Republic in Islamabad. The Czech Republic did not recognize the Taliban government proclaimed after 1995 and continued to maintain contacts with representatives of the forces united in the so-called Northern Alliance in 2001.

The first trade relations between the Czech Republic and the Kingdom of Afghanistan began to develop in the 1930s. A number of agreements have been concluded between Czech companies and the Afghan Government on the construction of larger industrial plants (e.g. the sugar factory in Baghlan, the military arsenal and the city slaughterhouse in Kabul). In 1937, the mixed Czechoslovak-Afghan company ABAG started operations with a 50 % share of the Škoda industrial plant in Pilsen. In the same year, the two countries concluded a Trade Agreement with the most-favored-nation clause in Berlin. After the Second World War, economic and trade relations gradually deepened. In 1954, an Agreement on the Exchange of Goods, a Payment agreement and also an Agreement on the Provision of a Czechoslovak Investment Loan were signed. On this legal basis, Czechoslovakia participated in the construction of Afghan industrial plants: cement plants in the towns of Jabalus Siraj and Pole Chomri, cannery and telephone exchange in Kandahar, oil press in Mazar Sharif, engineering plant in Pole Charch, mining equipment in the coal districts of Karkar, Ispush and Sabzak . In December 1973, a new long-term Economic Cooperation Agreement was concluded. It was supposed to be valid for twelve years, but due to the communist coup in 1979, it was implemented only partially. Czech geologists and petrochemical experts worked on the exploration and mapping of Afghanistan's mineral resources.

Czechoslovakia also vastly participated in the construction of Afghan infrastructure. According to regularly concluded trade agreements, Czechoslovakia supplied various machines and machinery to Afghanistan, motor vehicles (especially Tatra 111 trucks). There were also motorcycles, tractors and other agricultural machinery, diesel engines and aggregates, telecommunications equipment, medical devices and glass, ceramic products, chemicals, textiles, footwear, paper and other consumer goods. Cotton, sheep's wool, oilseeds, fodder, goat and sheepskins, dried fruits, nuts, almonds, spices, etc. were imported from Afghanistan to Czechoslovakia. In the period after the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, economic relations between the then Czechoslovakia and the Democratic Republic of Afghanistan deepened further . In order to facilitate their regulation, the Czechoslovak-Afghan Joint Commission for Economic, Commercial and Scientific-Technological Cooperation was established in 1982. According to the Trade and Payment Agreement of June 1982, Czechoslovakia supplied energy equipment, cement plants, mining, construction and road mechanisms, trucks and diesel generators to Afghanistan. It mainly imported hides, skins, furs from Afghanistan, as well as cotton, textiles and dried fruits. The value of mutual exchange of goods in the 1980s was USD 48.1 million for exports and USD 38.6 million for imports (according to data from 1986).

The two states also tried to establish joint production and trading companies: for example, in 1983, Kara Trutnov and the Afghan private company Haji Murad founded Afkara joint venture company in cooperation with the state Persian Carpets Institute. At that time, several Czechoslovak manufacturing companies continued to participate in increasing Afghan coal mining. Czechoslovakia also participated in the construction of a steam power plant in Herat and several other diesel power plants. For the maintenance and reconstruction of irrigation facilities in the Helmand River Valley, a contract was signed in 1980 for the purchase of Czechoslovak excavators, diggers, trucks and other equipment worth USD 4.2 million. The sale was financed by a loan of USD 90 million provided by Czechoslovakia. In the capital city Kabul, Czechoslovakia has built a 50 km long public trolleybus transport network with the necessary technical facilities. In 1985, the Federal Ministry of Communications donated modern telephones, equipment for automated telephone exchanges and other communications materials to Kabul to modernize the telephone network in Afghan cities.

During the civil war after 1992, economic and trade relations with Afghanistan completely ceased. Because of that, diplomatic and consular relations had to be maintained by the Embassy of the Czech Republic in Islamabad from 2002 until re-opening of the Embassy of the Czech Republic in Kabul in 2007.

Source: obchodnikomora.cz