Taliban assure Turkmenistan of gas pipeline commitment, security
Afghanistan's Taliban-appointed government has told Turkmenistan it would ensure the completion and security of the Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (TAPI) gas pipeline which Ashgabat is building in hope of opening up new markets.
Geopolitical and security risks have been the key issues for the $10 billion pipeline project since its conception, but the new Kabul government has said it remained committed to it, Turkmenistan's foreign ministry said in a statement.
A Turkmen government delegation visited Afghanistan last weekend to discuss the fate of TAPI, among other issues, and the Afghan side expressed willingness to resume work on bilateral projects, according to the statement.
"We want as soon as possible to launch national projects between the two countries, because for their implementation all the necessary conditions, including security, have been created," it quoted Afghan Deputy PM Abdul Salam Hanafi as saying.
"We will spare no effort to ensure the security of infrastructure and economic projects between the two countries," another Afghan official, Defence Minister Mullah Mohammad Yaqoob, was quoted as saying.
Turkmenistan has already built its segment of the pipeline designed to ship 33 billion cubic metres of gas a year and make the former Soviet republic less dependent on the Chinese market where the bulk of its exports currently goes.
It remains unclear, though, when the remaining length of the pipeline will be built.