Taliban and Turkmenistan agreed to resume work on TAPI gas pipeline


On Friday, Afghanistan and Turkmenistan discussed the launch of two major energy and electricity projects. The head of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Taliban, Amir Khan Muttaqi, met with Turkmen officials in Ashgabat and announced that work on the top projects would begin next spring.

“We hope that the resumption of the TAPI pipeline project and work on the TAP project will begin next spring. The construction of the Afghan section of TAPI may begin in March,” Muttaqi said following the talks.

Earlier, on January 10, the Foreign Ministry of Taliban announced that Mawlavi Hadayatullah Badri, acting minister of finance met Mr. Wafa Khadzhiev, Deputy Foreign Minister of Turkmenistan. In the meeting, both sides discussed and exchanged views related to expansion of bilateral relations and practical work on TAPI project as soon as possible.

The two sides also discussed about technical issues and acquisition of land and mutual agreements for traveling technical team to Afghanistan to review technical issues and land acquisition of the TAPI project after 20 January.

Turkmenistan would allocate a loan to the Afghan side

On January 12, Director of Strategic Studies at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Taliban, Waliullah Shaheen, said that Turkmenistan would allocate a loan to the Afghan side to pay its share in the project. “We have agreed with Turkmenistan that it will lend to Afghanistan the expenses to pay and Afghanistan will pay it back from the revenues of this project in the future,” Waliullah Shaheen said.

For the implementation of the TAPI project, the Taliban Foreign Ministry noted, there are 16 documents, 9 of which were signed before the collapse of the previous government of Afghanistan, and the remaining 7 agreements will be signed in the near future.

Turkmenistan will provide educational scholarships to Afghan students

In addition, Turkmenistan agreed to allow Afghan students studying in Turkmen universities to enter its territory from March, as well as to allocate scholarships to students in oil and gas, railway and technical areas.

The visit is a sign of Ashgabat’s seriousness in completing the TAPI project

The head of the Taliban’s Ministry of Mines and Petroleum Shahabuddin Delavar is optimistic that the visit of this high-ranking Turkmen delegation at the beginning of the new year is a sign of Ashgabat’s seriousness in completing the TAPI project, which has not been implemented for nearly thirty years.

On the other hand, Maulvi Abdul Salam Hanafi, Deputy Prime Minister of Taliban, said during a meeting with the Turkmen delegation: “Afghanistan-Turkmenistan relations are good, and we will work to expand it. Afghanistan considers the TAPI project as a national project and it matters, and we are ready at any moment to take practical steps to implement it. “The relevant departments of the two countries will work to prepare the necessary conditions for the implementation of the TAPI project.”

The Taliban will create a special unit to protect the TAPI gas pipeline

Earlier, the Taliban announced that they will deploy a special unit of 30,000 troops to resume work on the TAPI gas pipeline, suspended due to insecurity in Afghanistan. “The plan is to deploy a 30,000-member security unit for the security of the TAPI project. They will be providing security along the route of the project in all parts of the provinces where the pipeline is being constructed,” Taliban spokesperson Bilal Karimi told EFE.

The spokesperson added that they have already begun work on the draft of this plan, which will be the first under the Taliban to deploy such a large number of troops for the security of a development project in the country.

Construction of the Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India gas pipeline

The TAPI gas pipeline with a capacity of 33 billion cubic meters of gas per year will run from the Turkmen Galkynysh field through the Afghan cities of Herat and Kandahar, the Pakistani Quetta and Multan to the city of Fazilka in western India.

The total length of the TAPI gas pipeline is 1814 km, of which 207 km – through the territory of Turkmenistan, 774 km – through Afghanistan and 826 km – through the territory of Pakistan to the border with India.

The construction of the Turkmen section started in December 2015. In February 2018, the laying of the Afghan section of the gas pipeline took place.


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