There is no doubt that the early start of the construction of projects such as TAPI, TAP and railways from Turkmenistan to Afghanistan will contribute to achievement of prosperity and economic development in Afghanistan, according to a Saturday statement made to press by the Political Office of the Taliban movement.
The delegation of the Political Office of the Taliban movement led by Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, the head of the office, visited Ashgabat to hold talks at the Foreign Ministry of Turkmenistan to guarantee safety of Turkmenistan – Afghanistan – Pakistan – India natural gas pipeline project, high-voltage power transmission lines and fiber-optic communications along the Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan (TAP) route, as well as railways from Turkmenistan to Afghanistan.
During the talks attended by Turkmen Foreign Minister Rashid Meredov and his delegation, the sides emphasized that Turkmenistan has been supporting the Afghan people for many years by promoting the development of the Afghan economy, primarily in the strategically important areas such as energy, transport and communications.
“On the one hand, while we are struggling to gain independence of our country, meanwhile, we are trying to contribute to prosperity of our people and development of our country by providing protection to all national projects in the country,” Mohammad Suhail Shahin, spokesman for the Taliban's Political Office and negotiating team, told journalists after the meeting in Ashgabat on Saturday.
He said the Taliban delegation “gave a positive assessment of the policy of neutral Turkmenistan towards Afghanistan and the long-term political and economic support to Afghanistan that neighboring Turkmenistan is providing, provided and will provide” and declared the movement’s full support for the implementation and security of TAPI and other development projects in Afghanistan.
The total length of the planned TAPI gas pipeline is approximately 1814 km. Its annual capacity is designed to supply up to 33 billion cubic meters of natural gas along the route from Galkynysh, the world’s second-biggest gas field, to Fazilka near the border with Pakistan in northern India. India and Pakistan are each expected to buy around 14 billion cubic meters and the remaining 5 billion will be going to Afghanistan.
Construction of power transmission and fiber-optic communications lines along TAPI’s route is also nearing completion. Akina-Andkhoy railway line, Ymamnazar-Akina and Serhetabat-Turgundi international fiber-optic communication and transit systems, and electricity lines extending from Turkmenistan’s Kerki city to Afghanistan’s Sheberghan city were launched in January.