Kabul, Islamabad pursue gas pipeline connections

Pakistani prime minister gives credit to new Afghan president.
By Daniel J. Graeber Follow @dan_graeber Contact the Author   |   Nov. 17, 2014 at 9:07 AM
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ISLAMABAD, Nov. 17 (UPI) -- Islamabad thanks the leadership in Kabul for putting renewed emphasis behind a multilateral gas pipeline from Turkmenistan, the Pakistani prime minister said.

Representatives from Turkmenistan, Afghanistan, Pakistan and India met last year in Ashgabat, the capital of Turkmenistan, to sign a transaction advisory services agreement. That cleared the way for the Asian Development Bank to look for a consortium to find the money needed to build the $7.8 billion pipeline.

Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif met Saturday with visiting Afghan President Ashraf Ghani to discuss regional energy and trade initiatives, including TAPI.

"We reaffirmed our resolve to forge a robust economic partnership - by expanding trade, promoting investment, improving infrastructure, building road and rail links and enhancing energy collaboration," he said.

Pakistan and India would each get 1.3 billion cubic feet of natural gas per day and Afghanistan would get 500 million cubic feet of gas per day from the pipeline from Turkmenistan.

Pakistan's aging infrastructure leaves it short on electricity. Ghani, elected this year to take the place of long-time President Hamid Karzai, said addressing regional underdevelopment would help both countries succeed.

"This outcome owes much to the statesmanship of the new Afghan leadership and would further strengthen Afghanistan's stability and national unity," Pakistan's prime minister said.

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