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The Asian Development Bank is confident that it can overcome by 2020 the challenges of building a $10-billion gas pipeline through Afghanistan's most violent areas.

Shareholders of the planned Turkmenistan, Afghanistan, Pakistan and India (TAPI) project agreed on April 7 to invest $200 million in studies and engineering for the $10 billion project.

The proposed underground pipeline will go through the southern province of Helmand, one of the most violence-hit in the country.

Sean O'Sullivan, the Central and West Asia director general of the ADB, an adviser for the project, said on April 8 that, despite the challenges, the project is "doable."

"If it happens, it will be quite an unprecedented example of regional cooperation, particularly in a region that finds it difficult to cooperate," he said in an interview with the Reuters news agency.

Under current timelines, the pipeline could be operational by 2020.

Based on reporting by Reuters