KABUL: Turkmen officials will visit Kabul this week to discuss the TAPI pipeline, which connects the energy-rich Central Asian country via Afghanistan to Pakistan and India, according to the Taliban administration.
The pipeline would transport 33 billion cubic metres (bcm) of natural gas each year over a 1,800-kilometer (1,125-mile) route from Galkynysh, the world’s second-largest gas deposit, to Fazilka, India, near the Pakistan border.
“We have been working hard for some time and we are ready to take pride in starting work on the TAPI project,” Mohammad Issa Akhund, the acting minister of mines and petroleum in the new Taliban government, said in a statement.
The Afghan stretch of the pipeline will run from the northwestern border with Turkmenistan, south through the western city of Herat to Kandahar near the border with Pakistan. Akhund met the ambassador of Turkmenistan ahead of a two-day visit by a delegation from the country that will start from Saturday, the statement said.
The project was launched in Afghanistan in 2018, when the Taliban was fighting the western-backed government in Kabul, but it pledged its cooperation for a project it hailed as a key future element of the economic infrastructure.
Afghanistan, which suffers chronic energy shortages, is expected to take five per cent of the gas itself, with the rest divided equally between Pakistan and India. In addition, Kabul should earn hundreds of millions of dollars in transit fees.