Ghani urges Afghans to help secure TAPI gas pipeline
KABUL (Pajhwok): President Ashraf Ghani on Monday called on the Afghans to take part in providing security to the TAPI gas pipeline because it was a fundamental project to change Afghanistan’s economic situation.
The president was speaking at a press conference at the Presidential Palace in Kabul a day after he joined the regional leaders to formally launch work on the historic Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (TAPI) pipeline, the largest gas pipeline project in the region.
The ground-breaking ceremony near the city of Mary, the fourth largest and industrial city of the Central Asian state, was attended by President Ghani, Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, Turkmen President Gurbanguly Berdimohamedow and Indian Vice President Muhammad Hamid Ansari.
Inaugurating the work on the 1,814-kilometer pipeline by pushing the button, the four leaders also put their signatures on the pipeline to record the historical moment.
President Ghani told the press conference that there had been discussions in the past calling the TAPI project as “a myth and impractical project” but the foundation-laying ceremony in Turkmenistan brought it from papers to a practical shape.
He said people did not believe the project would be launched, but it was launched after passing through some difficult phases. “For the first time our neighbouring country (Turkmenistan) is investing its billions of dollars for Afghanistan’s future stability. Its implementation will revive Afghanistan historic importance and the project will go along the extension of the Noori optic fiber network.”
He said a 730 kilometre segment of the TAPI gas pipeline would pass through Afghanistan and the project cost had been estimated at eight billion dollars and more than half of the money would be spent in Afghanistan.
He said direct income coming from the project to Afghanistan was 400 million dollars per annum. A number of youth from provinces (Herat, Farah, Helmand and Kandahar) would be sent to Turkmenistan for training and would be provided jobs in the TAPI project. He said local companies would highly benefit from the gas pipeline.
About security of the pipeline in Afghanistan, the president said though the government would take extraordinary measures and would create a special force for the project security, the assistance of the masses in this regard remained critical.
“This national and regional project is for the majority of Afghanistan people. This is a peace project for the coming generations. It will prove the significance of Afghanistan’s geographic location in transfer of the energy from the energy rich central Asia to the energy-hungry south Asia.”
He said they aimed to convert Afghanistan into a regional square and thanked the Afghans for expressing their pleasure over the inauguration of the TAPI project.
To a question about the “Indo-Pak proxy war” in Afghanistan, the president said Afghanistan was no place for such wars and it should be removed from minds.
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