KABUL, Afghanistan, Sept. 23 (UPI) -- Local communities in Afghanistan will be paid to protect an underground natural gas pipeline planned for the region, a minister said.
The governments of Turkmenistan, Afghanistan, India and Pakistan are putting the final touches on agreements for a 1,043-mile natural gas pipeline.
The pipeline would move natural gas from the Dauletabad field in Turkmenistan, which holds more than 40 trillion cubic feet of gas.
New Delhi said security issues for the portion of the pipeline running through Afghanistan and Pakistan were concerns for the Indian government.
Vakhidullah Shakhrani, the Afghan mining and ores minister, said authorities were taking steps to make sure the pipeline would be secure.
"The pipeline will be buried in the ground and local communities will be paid to protect it," he was quoted by the online Oil and Gas Information Agency as saying.
The Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India pipeline is a Western-backed rival to an Iranian pipeline from the South Pars gas field in the Persian Gulf. A feasibility study for TAPI was financed by the Asian Development Bank in 2005.