Work on TAPI gas pipeline starts in Afghanistan's Herat province

Construction begins on Afghan leg of Trans Afghan pipeline

TAPI gas pipeline project important for Pakistan: PM Abbasi

Afghanistan will host leaders from Turkmenistan, Pakistan and India on Friday for the ground-breaking ceremony of the Afghan section of a much-delayed multi-billion dollar gas pipeline connecting the four nations.

Mobin Saulat, who is in Turkmenistan to attend bilateral and multilateral meetings on the TAPI project, called the event "historic and substantial positive turn in the pipeline's history".

The TAPI project, supported by the United States and the Asian Development Bank, has been touted by Turkmenistan since the 1990s.

Under the Afghan government, holding a global record of corruption and embezzlement, no game-changing economic development scheme has been carried out so far and that was why the TAPI pipeline was also marred by massive graft, the Taliban alleged.

Highlighting the importance of TAPI for Pakistan's energy needs, PM Abbasi informed the gathering that the project will provide equivalent of "10 per cent for our total energy consumption, 20 per cent of current gas consumption and it equals nine million tonnes worth of LNG import and export".

"Today, given the energy requirements in India, there are several gas pipeline proposals before us".

He said the President of Turkmenistan owing to his vision has converted the TAPI project into an energy and communications corridor, that would have IT connectivity, besides road and rail links.

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The MD said the pipeline would substantially add cheap, reliable and environment friendly energy into Pakistan's national pool and help in achieving socio economic progress in the region.

But the bulk of the 33 billion cubic metres of gas to be pumped annually through the conduit will be purchased by South Asian rivals Pakistan and India.

Afghanistan would earn 500 million USA dollars as royalty each year from TAPI project, according to Afghan officials.

The pipeline will traverse war-wracked Afghanistan, raising security concerns.

Herat Governor Mohammad Asif Rahimi told VOA the Afghan and Turkmen presidents will additionally inaugurate work on the construction of a railway link between the two countries, as well as fiber optic connection along the TAPI route.

Friday's inaugural ceremony will take place in the western Afghan city of Herat where President Ashraf Ghani, his Turkmen counterpart, Gurbanguly Berdymukhammedov, Pakistani Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi and India's Minister of State for External Affairs MJ Akbar will be in attendance.

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