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    Feasibility study on TAPI gas pipeline completed: Shahrani

    KABUL (PAN): A feasibility study on laying the multibillion-dollar Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (TAPI) gas pipeline has been completed and work on the project's design to finish this year, the mines minister said on Monday.

    An agreement of the project was signed by the presidents of Afghanistan, Pakistan, India and Turkmenistan in 2010.

    The pipeline would be able to deliver 34 billion cubic-metre gas annually and would be officially inaugurated in 2016.

    The project would earn Afghanistan $400 million in income per year, the Minister of Mines, Wahidullah Shahrani, told Pajhwok Afghan News during an interview.

    It was planned to start material procurement services for the project at the end of 2010, but the process was yet to be launched, he said.

    He said the process delayed due to the importance of the project that needed wide discussions. 

    The minister said the pipeline was 1,800 kilomentre long, with 917 km passing through Afghanistan's territories in Herat, Farah, Helmand and Kandahar provinces.

    The idea of the project was initiated during the rule of Taliban. India was lately included in the project in 2008.

    Shahrani said the Ministry of Interior was able to keep security for the $7.5 billion project, adding the Taliban had said nothing about the project, but the Hizb-i-Islami led by Gulbuddin Hikmatyar, had voiced its support for the plan.

    myn/ma