Taliban and Turkmenistan Meet to Discuss Energy Collaboration

Darvaza, Turkmenistan. Photo: TCA

The acting head of the Ministry of Water and Energy of the Taliban, Abdul-Latif Mansur, recently held a meeting with Murad Artykov, the head of the Department of International Electric Power Projects in the Turkmen Ministry of Energy. This marked the second official dialogue between the two leaders.

The TAP Project

A significant part of their discussion revolved around the TAP project, also known as the Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan Power Interconnection Project. This proposed initiative aims to connect the power grids of Turkmenistan, Afghanistan, and Pakistan, strengthening power trade between these countries. It is seen as a crucial step towards enhancing energy security, promoting regional cooperation, and supporting economic development within the region.

The TAP project is a part of broader efforts to develop energy infrastructure and promote connectivity between Central Asia and South Asia. The Taliban representatives reportedly expressed readiness to launch the project and are now awaiting the participation of the remaining stakeholders.

The 500 kV Power Transmission Line

Another key point of discussion was the development of the 500 kV power transmission line “Turkmenistan – Shibargan – Dashti-Alvan – Argandi”. This line is intended to facilitate the import of electricity from Turkmenistan to meet the growing energy demands in Afghanistan. The Taliban urged Ashgabat to intensify efforts towards this goal.

The “Nur al-Jihad” Substation

The meeting also covered the “Nur al-Jihad” substation, a project nearing completion that will provide electricity to the Afghan provinces of Herat and Farah. This substation is a collaboration between Afghanistan’s power utility company, Da Afghanistan Breshna Sherkat (DABS), and Turkmenistan. The project will increase the capacity of the Noor Al-Jihad substation from 110 kilovolts to 220 kilovolts. The substation is located in Herat province.

Artykov outlined the goals of the visit, which included extending contracts for the supply of Turkmen energy and expanding energy cooperation.

Implications

Despite the Taliban being under UN sanctions for terrorist activities, discussions between Turkmenistan and the Taliban regarding energy and infrastructure projects have been ongoing, as reported by various sources including Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty and Caspian News. Turkmenistan already exports electricity to areas in northern Afghanistan, some of which are under Taliban control. These talks also involved the Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (TAPI) gas pipeline project, which the Taliban has shown support for.