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Central Asia: Agreement Signed On Trans-Afghan Pipeline

Ashgabat, 27 December 2002 (RFE/RL) -- Leaders from Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Turkmenistan signed a framework agreement today on building a pipeline to carry gas from Turkmenistan's Dauletabad-Donmez field through Afghanistan to Pakistan. Afghan President Hamid Karzai, Pakistani Prime Minister Zafarullah Khan Jamali, and Turkmen President Saparmurat Niyazov signed in Ashgabat a deal that sets the legal framework for companies to invest in the project.

Officials said the 1,500-kilometer-long pipeline, which is expected to cost $3.2 billion to build, could generate $300 million in annual transit fees for Afghanistan and create 12,000 jobs there. So far, no foreign investors have committed to building the pipeline.