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TAPI project on the horizon; Afghanistan ponders security for landmark pipeline project

AT-KABUL: As the much-orchestrated milestone trans-Afghanistan pipeline is about to be embarked upon, Afghanistan is pondering eliminating the obstacles in the path of its implementation and devising pragmatic ways of beefing up security for the project.

Wais Barmak minister of interior in a session on Tuesday called on the defense brass to initiate all-out efforts to reinforce security in areas where the Turkmenistan–Afghanistan–Pakistan–India Pipeline project is implemented.

He also discussed the delay in payments for the injured policemen and families of the deceased policemen and instructed his subordinates to accelerate the payment.

Officials also discussed reforms in the ministry and deemed it was necessary to bring reforms in a bid to improve the police.

TAPI is a natural gas pipeline being developed by TAPI Pipeline Company Limited with participation of the Asian Development Bank. The pipeline will transport natural gas from Turkmenistan gas fields through Afghanistan into Pakistan and then to India. Proponents of the project see it as a modern continuation of the Silk Road.

Pakistan, India and Afghanistan signed a framework agreement in 2008 to buy natural gas from Turkmenistan and the intergovernmental agreement on the pipeline was signed in 2010 in Ashgabat. However, India and Afghanistan failed to agree on transit fee for gas passing through Afghan territory in 2012. Islamabad and New Delhi too could not agree on the transit fee for the segment of the pipeline passing through Pakistan. Finally, Afghan Parliament approved the agreement on a gas pipeline in 2012 and consequently the India too sanctioned a deal with Turkmenistan’s national oil company. Construction on the project started in Turkmenistan in 2015. The pipeline is expected to be operational by 2019.

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