Natural gas good for Afghanistan

WASHINGTON, Sept. 23 (UPI) -- Pakistan is committed to helping its western neighbors in Afghanistan advance economically through programs like a regional gas pipeline, an official said.

Pakistani Finance Minister Abdul Hafeez Shaikh spoke at an event led by international finance institutions in Washington. The finance minister was quoted by the Associated Press of Pakistan as saying Islamabad has "has committed $330 million for development of health, infrastructure and education sectors in Afghanistan."


Afghanistan is examining its mineral wealth potential as part of an effort to rebuild its economy after several decades of war. The Pakistani leader said Islamabad was examining opening transit corridors to help landlocked Afghanistan get its goods to the rest of the world.

In the field of energy, he said, Islamabad was pursuing the Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India natural gas pipeline as a development opportunity.

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary said, during meetings on the so-called new Silk Road, that fostering investments in major infrastructure "like the so-called (TAPI) pipeline to run from Turkmenistan, through Afghanistan, Pakistan and into India," would promote regional economic stability.

TAPI is favored by Western powers over Iran's rival gas pipeline project to Pakistan because of diplomatic concerns with dealing with Tehran.


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