The Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (TAPI) gas pipeline project will be inaugurated on 25 February in Herat, Afghanistan, said a spokesman for the governor of the city.
“High-level guests of the TAPI member countries” will attend the ceremony, Jailani Farhad added.
Herat lawmaker Ahmad Farhad Majidi said the multibillion-dollar project will create at least 25 000 direct jobs and be a source of income for the Afghan government.
“This is a megaproject on the regional level. I don’t see any hindrance to its implementation,” he told Arab News.
“We’ll have annual revenue of US$450 million from this. There will be jobs for people. They’ll have access to gas.”
Afghans see the project as a game-changer that will bolster the economy and transform the country into a major trade and energy corridor following four decades of conflict.
The major section of the pipeline runs through southwest Afghanistan, the main bastion for the Taliban, whose spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said the group is in favour of the project and will protect it. TAPI “is an important project,” he told Arab News.
Anwarullhaq Ahady, who held various Cabinet positions in the previous government, told Arab News: “In the absence of peace with the Taliban, it would be rather easy to disrupt the construction of the TAPI pipeline in Afghanistan.”
But “if a settlement is reached with the Taliban, TAPI is likely to substantially increase interdependence among nations in this region, which in turn will strengthen peace,” he added.
The 1078-mile pipeline will transport 33 billion m3 of natural gas from Turkmenistan to Afghanistan, Pakistan and India.
It will provide Afghanistan with 0.5–1.5 billion m3 per year over the next 30 years, while India and Pakistan will each receive 14–16 billion m3 per annum.
Tribal chiefs and communities living along the pipeline route have expressed an “earnest willingness to protect it and not allow anyone to sabotage,” said Afghan President Ashraf Ghani’s spokesman Shah Hussien Mutazawi.
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