Ashgabat, Turkmenistan, Oct. 11
By Huseyn Hasanov– Trend:
Turkmen President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov and his Afghan counterpart Mohammad Ashraf Ghani spoke on the phone, the Turkmen government said in a message Oct. 11.
The telephone conversation took place on Afghanistan’s initiative.
The Afghan president noted the importance of joint large-scale investment projects implemented in the fuel and energy, as well as transport sectors.
First of all, the sides discussed construction of the Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (TAPI) transnational gas pipeline.
TAPI will make it possible to deliver gas from Turkmenistan, which ranks fourth in the world for its gas reserves, to large and promising markets of South and Southeast Asia. The pipeline will run from Galkynysh – the largest gas field in Turkmenistan – through the Afghan cities of Herat and Kandahar, and finally reach the Fazilka settlement located near the India-Pakistan border.
Annual capacity of the gas pipeline will reach 33 billion cubic meters. Total length of the TAPI pipeline will be 1,814 kilometers. The project's preliminary cost is estimated at $10 billion.
It is expected that various infrastructure facilities - electricity, transport and communication, social ones, will be built along the pipeline’s route.
In this aspect, Turkmen-Afghan cooperation in the transport and communication sphere is very significant, due to the location of the two countries, the Vatan newspaper wrote Oct. 11.
The Atamyrat-Ymamnazar-Akina railway, the first phase of the Asian International Railway Transport Corridor, commissioned in November 2016, is a good example of this.
In the future, the Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Tajikistan (TAT) railway will become an important link in transit and transport routes on regional and international scale.
Turkmenistan and Afghanistan also cooperate in the electric power industry. Turkmen electricity is supplied to the northern regions of Afghanistan on preferential terms, and it is planned to increase the volumes of electricity supplies upon completion of construction of the corresponding additional capacities.
In addition, Turkmenistan delivers liquefied gas to Afghanistan at a reduced price, builds social, in particular medical and educational facilities in the neighboring state.
“Our country intends to continue taking an active part in international efforts to revive the neighboring Afghanistan and to render all possible assistance in restoring its social and economic infrastructure, thereby supporting the Afghan people in their aspiration for peaceful and prosperous life,” the Turkmen president said.
The sides spoke about the expediency of studying the possibilities to increase the volumes of mutual trade and its diversification.
In this aspect, the parties noted the need to boost activity of the Turkmen-Afghan intergovernmental commission, as well as business contacts. The opening of a joint trading house “Turkmenistan” in the city of Mazar-i-Sharif of the Afghan Balkh Province became one of the practical steps taken in this direction.
The two presidents also discussed some aspects of mutual interest regarding international and regional policy.