Afghan President Ashraf Ghani on Thursday met with his Turkmen counterpart, President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedow, in Kabul where the two leaders held wide-ranging discussions on a number of key topics including major economic projects and further expansion of trade and commercial ties between the two neighbors.
Turkmenistan – besides expanding the volume of exports to Afghanistan – is also willing to invest in a number of key projects in the country such as the establishment of railway links, expanding energy export and establishment oil and gas pipelines to Aqina port, Ghani said in a statement on Thursday.
Ghani also said that Berdimuhamedow has agreed that his country will increase electricity supply to Afghanistan five-fold.
“The specific point is that the government of Turkmenistan is pragmatic … improvements have been made. This further nourishes our hopes that the two governments are taking positive steps to develop the living standards of their people,” Ghani said.
Touching on the issue of the Torghundi railway project, connecting Afghanistan to Iran and Turkmenistan, Ghani maintained that the implementation of the project will connect Afghanistan to Europe.
“The foundation of transit cooperation between Afghanistan, Turkmenistan, Azerbaijan and Turkey provides us a base, any step we are taking in fact revives the Silk Route,” Ghani added.
Meanwhile, Berdimuhamedow also expressed his hopes that the crucial TAPI project transferring Turkemnistan gas via Afghanistan to Pakistan and onward to India is implemented as soon as possible, adding that his country was willing to offer support to implement Afghanistan’s economic and infrastructural projects.
“Our cooperation is sustainable and unchangeable and the cooperation will go on. Our good neighborhood gesture and cooperation should serve the people of our countries in order to bring development, sustainable stability and harmony in the region,” he said.
Turkmenistan is Afghanistan’s major economic and transit partner in the region. It is said that the implementation of the economic projects between the two countries will change Turkmenistan into one of Afghanistan’s major economic partners in the region.
Providing technical support to Afghanistan’s carpet industry, the implementation of electricity supply from Turkmenistan via Afghanistan to Pakistan, the establishment of oil and gas pipelines to Aqina port, providing funds for implementation of Afghanistan railway networks starting from Aqina onward to Sheberghan and Sher Khan Bandar port, the establishment of Herat-Torghundi railway link, the expansion of transit ties with Afghanistan, the rehabilitation of ancient silk route and the implementation of the TAPI project are among the major economic projects which the two presidents agreed upon in their meeting.