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Turkmen, Afghan Leaders Launch Construction Of TAPI Pipeline

Turkmen President Gurbanguly Berdymukhammedov and Afghan President Ashraf Ghani have agreed to launch construction of a pipeline meant to pump natural gas from Turkmenistan through Afghanistan, Pakistan, and India.

The two presidents discussed the pipeline via phone on November 10.

Ghani -- who reportedly accepted an invitation from Berdymukhammedov to attend a ground-breaking ceremony on December 13 -- called the project "extremely important for the entire region."

The proposed 1,735-kilometer TAPI pipeline is intended to carry 33 billion cubic meters of gas per year alongside Afghanistan’s Herat-Kandahar highway, then via Quetta and Multan in Pakistan -- ending up at the India-Pakistan border town of Fazilka.

It would start from the Galkynysh Gas Field, formally known as the South Yolotan -Osman field, near the town of Yoloten in Turkmenistan’s eastern province of Mary.

Ghani called the project “extremely important for the entire region.”

The two leaders agreed to formally start the construction of the $7.6 billion project on November 13 with Turkmengaz and Turkmengazneftstroi involved.

Afghanistan has the right to use up to 5 billion cubic meters of gas per year, and earn about $400 million per year in transit fees.

Based on reporting by AP, BBC, Pajhwok, Eurasiannet, and Hindustan Times