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‘Work on Afghan section of TAPI yet to begin’

AT-KABUL: The Turkmenistan, Afghanistan, Pakistan, India (TAPI) project is far beyond to be called only a gas pipeline scheme–it’s a package of projects including electricity, optical fiber and railway—but despite leaders and senior officials from Afghanistan, Turkmenistan, Pakistan, and India inaugurated the start of work on the Afghan part of multibillion-dollar project months ago, the construction of the Afghan section has yet to see daylight.

Two months ago a ground-breaking ceremony was held in Herat to lunch the start of work on the Afghanistan section of the key Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (TAPI) pipeline project that will feed natural gas to the three countries from Turkmenistan.

President Ashraf Ghani, Turkmenistan President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedow, Pakistan Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, Mobashar Jawed Akbar India’s Minister of State External Affairs, NATO and US Forces Commander Gen. John Nicholson and other high-ranking officials were present in the ground-breaking ceremony in that time.

Now it has been months since the inauguration, but the practical work yet to be kicked off. “The construction of Afghan section of TAPI would begin soon,” Abdul Qadir Mutfi, a spokesman for Afghanistan’s Ministry of Mines and Petroleum said.

According to him, some contracts on land, demining and mapping was signed by TAPI limited since the launch of Afghan section of the project.

He brought out difficulties ahead of TAPI legal work, saying “implementation of the project is easier than injecting into legal contracts.

The 1,814-kilometer pipeline will carry an estimated 33 billion cubic meters of natural gas annually for the next 30 years from the world’s fourth-largest reserves in Turkmenistan. The pipeline would mostly rune through parts of Afghanistan where the Taliban has a strong presence. However, the main Taliban organization in the country has declared its support for TAPI, calling it an important project for the country.

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