Afghanistan, Turkmenistan sign documents on railway, energy, and marble trading

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KABUL (TCA) — A high-level delegation from Turkmenistan visited Afghanistan’s Herat province on June 16 where they said that all preparations are on track to implement the Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (TAPI) gas pipeline project, Afghan broadcaster TOLOnews reported.

Delegates from the two sides signed agreements on expansion of Turghundi-Herat and Aqina-Andkhoi railway projects including the expansion of power distribution to Herat city and practical implementation of TAPI and TAP projects.

Afghan Acting Minister of Finance, Humayun Qayumi, said Afghanistan is expected to import military uniforms from Turkmenistan for members of the Afghan security forces in exchange for marbles.

“The Turkmen team told us that during the current year, practical work will start from Turkmenistan towards Herat,” Qayumi said.

In January 2016, leaders from Turkmenistan, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and India officially inaugurated the $10 billion TAPI gas pipeline project.

At least 200 kilometers of the pipeline will pass through the territory of Turkmenistan, 735 kilometers through Afghanistan, 800 kilometers through Pakistan up to Fazilka settlement on the border with India.

The trans-regional energy project, which will carry gas from Turkmenistan, through Afghanistan to Pakistan and India is being hailed as a major initiative for bringing peace and enhancing connectivity in the region.

Afghanistan is expected to earn more than $400 million in transit duties annually from the project.

The TAPI project was recently changed into a package of other projects which will be implemented alongside this key initiative for Afghanistan.

The Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan 500 kilovolt line (TAP-500) will transfer Turkmenistan’s electricity to Pakistan through Afghanistan.

According to Afghan President Ghani’s Office, Afghanistan is expected to earn $110 million USD annually from the TAP project.

During this period, three substations of power will be established in Herat, Farah and Kandahar provinces of Afghanistan.

Another major part of the project is the national and regional railway which connects Pakistan and Turkmenistan through Afghanistan.

Meanwhile, the 13-kilometer railway of Torghundi Port of Afghanistan will be reconstructed by Turkmenistan. The project will cost $10.5 million.

Sergey Kwan

TCA