Afghanistan taking steps to ensure safety of TAPI gas pipeline
ASHGABAT, Turkmenistan, Oct. 22
By Huseyn Hasanov – Trend:
A special combat unit of Afghan security forces has started operation to stabilize Afghanistan’s war-ravaged provinces involved in the implementation of the Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (TAPI) pipeline project, Trend reports referring to Xinhua News Agency.
Construction work of the TAPI pipeline project in Afghan territory was inaugurated in February 2018, according to the report.
However, less work has been done in Afghanistan terrain so far as security issue over the construction and maintenance of the line has remained big concerns.
“The formation of the new security unit is part of government efforts to provide security for the Highway One crossing from Delaram district, Nimroz province to Maiwand district, Kandahar province onward to Greshk district in the neighboring Helmand province [of Afghanistan],” said Omar Zwak, Helmand provincial government spokesman.
The TAPI pipeline is expected to pass through five Afghan provinces, namely Herat, Farah, Nimroz, Helmand and Kandahar.
"The 700-member combat unit, tasked to provide security for TAPI project, was formed two months ago, but the unit started operation a couple of days ago," Zwak added.
Afghanistan would earn $500 million as royalty each year from TAPI project, according to Afghan officials.
The operations on laying the Turkmen section of the TAPI gas pipeline are planned to be completed till late 2019, the construction of which was launched in December 2015. The construction of the Afghan section was launched in February 2018. Pakistan plans to begin the operations on TAPI this year.
The buyers are gas companies from Afghanistan, Pakistan and India.
The participating countries established the TAPI Pipeline Company Limited consortium, the leader of which was Turkmengas state concern. The project is being promoted by the Asian Development Bank (ADB), which acts as a project transaction advisor.
TAPI's resource base will be Galkynysh field, the second biggest gas field in the world (after South Pars field in Iran). The total length of the TAPI gas pipeline with a capacity of 33 billion cubic meters of gas per year will be approximately 1,840 kilometers. Instability in transit Afghanistan remains a great obstacle, but Kabul says it will be able to ensure the safety of the route.