A number of MPs in the Wolesi Jirga (Lower House of Parliament) on Wednesday called on the government to beef up security in provinces through which the Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (TAPI) pipeline passes otherwise it will jeopardize the implementation of the key economic project.
The TAPI pipeline project is expected to pass through insecure districts of Afghanistan – including Herat, Farah, Nimroz, Helmand and Kandahar. The MPs suggest that residents of the concerned provinces and districts should be involved in securing their areas in order to help ensure the project's safety.
They also said the government should have extensive programs to make this dream work in war-weary Afghanistan.
"The government should leave no stone unturned to ensure the security of the TAPI project and we are sure that the project will be implemented if this happens. No doubt, the project will benefit the country," said Lalai Hamidzai, an MP from Kandahar.
Another MP Khalil Ahmad Shaheedzada concurred: "The government should not make the project governmental but it should make it people-owned. The project should be implemented with the help of tribal elders of different provinces."
The Interior Ministry meanwhile said the government is ready to implement the TAPI project.
"No doubt, this is a national project and the government will pay out all of its efforts to ensure its security. We are prepared for that and we have taken a number of plans in hand," said Sediq Sediqqi, spokesman for the Interior Ministry.
According to reports, more than 750 kilometers of pipeline will pass through Afghanistan. It will start in Kasht district in Herat province, and make its way through Farah, Nimroz and Helmand, ending up in Kandahar before crossing the border to Quetta in Pakistan.
The implementation of TAPI will earn Afghanistan up to $500 million USD a year in transit duties and the project will also help Afghanistan 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 at the Mes Aynak copper project.
Economic analysts say the implementation of TAPI can leverage extended economic, political and commercial ties within member states, which include Turkmenistan, Afghanistan, Pakistan and India.
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