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Bound gas pipeline opens in Afghanistan

25 February 2018

India, known widely as TAPI, is a US$10 billion mega project gas pipeline which will connect the four nations and, following many delays, is expected to become operational this year.

Afghanistan will host leaders from Turkmenistan, Pakistan and India today in Herat for the ground-breaking ceremony of the Afghan section of the TAPI pipeline.

Turkmenistan holds the world's fourth largest natural gas reserves, but in recent years has been strongly dependent on gas exports to China after Russian Federation reduced their gas imports.

The prime minister along with the delegation, comprising Minister of State for Petroleum Jam Kamal Khan, Provincial Minister for Labour and HR Raja Ashfaq Sarwar, Ambassador of Pakistan to Turkmenistan Mr. Murad Ashraf Janjua and other senior government officials, reached Mary on Thursday on the invitation from the President of Turkmenistan Gurbanguly Berdimuhamadov.

"TAPI will lead from a gas pipeline into an energy and communication corridor", Mr Abbasi said, adding that as well as providing energy, the pipeline would underpin development of road, rail and communications networks. But starting work on the pipeline has been delayed because of the problem of crossing Afghanistan.

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The Afghan president in his address said Afghanistan will leave no stone unturned to implement the project.

Terming the project a message for future generation, Afghan President Ashraf Ghani said: "We hope our next generation will see this pipeline as the foundation of a joint position in our region which is aimed at improving our economy, providing jobs and increasing our security, all in our fight against extremists".

The pipeline mostly runs through parts of southwestern Afghanistan where the Taliban insurgency controls or influences many districts. It will provide energy-hungry India gas to run its power plants. This is because flow of more gas to Pakistan and India would mean sustainability of energy for their economic development while it would contribute a lot in generating economic activity in the war-torn Afghanistan.

The prime minister reiterated Pakistan's full support to Turkmenistan's policy of permanent neutrality and President Berdimuhamadov's initiatives at the UN. The ADB is acting as the facilitator and coordinator for the project.

Bound gas pipeline opens in Afghanistan