TAPI launch sends a wave of happiness across Afghanistan
KABUL (Pajhwok): The groundbreaking ceremony of the Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (TAPI) gas pipeline in Turkmenistan on Sunday sent a wave of happiness across Afghanistan, with people asking the four partner countries to take effective steps for the vital project’s completion.
Turkmenistan on Sunday began building its segment of the natural gas pipeline to Afghanistan, Pakistan and India (TAPI), a $10 billion project to be completed by December 2019.
President Ashraf Ghani, Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, Indian Vice-President Muhammad Hamid Ansari and Turkmen President Kurbanguly Berdymukhamedov attended the ground-breaking ceremony that took place near the city of Mary close to the giant Galkynysh gas field.
Wahidullah Gharawal, 28, a resident of the 5th municipal district of Kabul, believed the project would economically benefit Afghanistan at a time when the country was struggling with unemployment and acute energy deficit.
According to reports, as many as 12,000 people in Afghanistan would find work opportunities on the project directly and indirectly.
Gharawal said the Afghan government should utilise all its resources to ensure security for the pipeline in areas it would traverse.
Palwasha Tasal, another resident of Kabul, said the TAPI project was economically vital for Afghanistan and the region.
She said the project implementation might force Pakistan into halting destructive activities in Afghanistan because the neighbouring country was in dire need of energy.
The third year student of Pashtu literature at the Kabul University said unfortunately thousands of university graduates were jobless in Afghanistan and if jobs were created for them, it would automatically reduce the youth’s recruitment in Taliban ranks.
A resident of western city of Herat, Sumia Walizada, said she was happy over the launch of the TAPI project which she called the biggest economic project in Afghanistan during the past 14 years.
A resident of southern city of Kandahar, Abdul Wasi, happy over the groundbreaking ceremony for the project, said it was for the first time in decades that Afghanistan was participating in a huge economic project.
He said a big portion of the pipeline would pass through southern provinces where residents would benefit from the gas. He said the project would create jobs for thousands of people.
Abbas Naderi, a resident of central Bamyan province, called TAPI one of important projects on regional level and said it could help Afghanistan strength its economy.
“It is important that Afghan officials take special security measures for the implementation of the project that can improve national economy,” Naderi added.
Prof. Elham Safi, a lecturer at Nangarhar University, said the project in fact was connecting central Asian countries with southern Asian countries and would result into improved political, security and economic relations between them.
But a resident of Jalalabad city, the capital of Nangarhar province, Omranullah, said he was not optimistic about the project’s timely completion given the security threats.
He said security challenges could be removed and if Pakistan really supported the project.
Zahid Wafa, a resident of Lashkargah city, the capital of southern Helmand province, said TAPI was a fundamental project that every Afghan was waiting for its implementation.
Najeebullah Latif, a local journalist in central Uruzgan province, also agreed with economic advantages of the project and said, “A large number of Afghans will get jobs on the project and they will be no longer traveling abroad for work.”
The Afghan government should eliminate all insurgent groups posing threat to the project, he added.
A civil society activist in western Farah province, Zalmai Muzammil, called the project a big achievement for Afghanistan’s economy and said Afghanistan direly needed economic projects and TAPI project could play a big role in this regard.
“It is a national project that can benefit all Afghans. We should join hands to make the project a success,” Muzammil said.
The agreement of TAPI project was signed between TAPI member countries in 2010.
The Ministry of Mines and Petroleum said the implementation of the pipeline would cost more than $7 billion to be paid by the partners.
The 1,814-kilometre (1,127-mile) link will have a capacity of 33 billion cubic metres, Berdymukhamedov said at the ceremony.
The 1,800 km pipeline aims to export up to 33 billion cubic meters (bcm) of natural gas per year from Turkmenistan to Afghanistan, Pakistan and India.
It ensures energy security through balanced development of regional infrastructure and institutions, stronger integration of markets and economic growth through enhanced energy trading.
Pakistan and India will get over 1.3 billion cubic feet per day of gas from TAPI while Afghanistan will get 0.5 billion cubic feet.
India will pay $200-250 million in transit fees to Pakistan while Pakistan will pay the same amount in transit fees to Afghanistan.
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