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Karzai Heads To Turkmenistan For Talks On Trade, Business

Hamid Karzai (file photo) (RTR) KABUL, July 5, 2007 (RFE/RL) -- Afghanistan's President Hamid Karzai travels today to Turkmenistan for two days of talks on expanding trade and business between the two countries, RFE/RL's Radio Free Afghanistan reported.

Afghan Foreign Ministry spokesman Sultan Ahmed Bahin told RFE/RL that the discussions with Turkmen President Gurbanguly Berdymukhammedov will also include transferring electricity from Turkmenistan to Afghanistan and a gas-pipeline project.

"Building a gas pipeline from Turkmenistan to Pakistan and India through Afghanistan is one of the most important projects for us," Bahin said. "[The Afghan government] will make every effort for its implementation. According to the agreements we have reached in the past, we hope that practical steps will be taken in this regard."

The $2-billion project aims to transit gas from Turkmenistan's Dovletabad gas field.

Kabul is hoping the project will create 12,000 jobs for Afghans and eventually bring in $300 million in annual transit tariffs.

"The two presidents will release a joint statement about the outcome of their bilateral discussions," Bahin added.

RFE/RL Central Asia Report

RFE/RL Central Asia Report

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