Amid security concerns over the TAPI pipeline from Turkmenistan through Afghanistan to Pakistan and India, the ministry of interior said Monday that government will instill tight security measures to protect the project as it is key to boosting regional integration and economic development.
The $10 billion USD gas pipeline project, officially inaugurated by leaders from the four countries on Sunday, is also aimed at addressing Pakistan and India’s energy problems.
But Afghan officials on Monday assured member nations of solid security measures to safeguard the pipeline from possible threats.
TAPI will transfer billions of cubic meters of natural gas from Turkmenistan gas fields to Pakistan and onward to India via Afghanistan territory. However, concerns remain in place about security of the project in Afghanistan as it passes through volatile regions of the country, an issue that some believe will likely delay the implementation of the project.
Afghan President Ashraf Ghani along with Turkmenistan President Gurbanguly Berdymuhamedov, Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and Indian Vice President Muhammad Hamid Ansari on Sunday attended the ground breaking ceremony in Mary in the southeastern part of the central Asian country, close to the giant Galkynysh gas field which will provide gas for the 1,814-kilometre link.
Some 200 kilometers will pass through the territory of Turkmenistan, 735 kilometers through Afghanistan, 800 kilometers through Pakistan up to Fazilka settlement on the border with India.
According to officials from the ministry of mines and petroleum, the pipeline will run through the Herat-Kandahar highway.
“With the start of work on the project in Torghundi and Spin Boldak district, two gas meters will be installed on the pipeline,” Muhaiduddin Noori, spokesman to ministry of mines and petroleum said.
The ministry of interior has also said solid security management strategies had been forged to thwart threats against the key economic pipeline.
“We will take and use all necessary measures to determine security and implementation of the project,” MoI spokesman Sediq Sediqqi said.
The implementation of TAPI will earn Afghanistan up to $500 million USD a year as part of transit duty. The project will also help Afghanistan to purchase 1.5 billion cubic meters of gas for thirty years at a reasonable price. The gas will be utilized in Hajigak iron mine and Mes Aynak copper project.
Economic analysts say the implementation of TAPI can leverage extended economic, political and commercial ties within member states.