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Turkmenistan Says Kabul Backs TAPI Gas Pipeline Project

Turkmen Foreign Minister Rashid Meredov (3rd left) and his delegation meet with Taliban Prime Minister Mullah Hassan Akhund in Kabul on October 30.

Turkmenistan says the Taliban-led government in neighboring Afghanistan has vowed to ensure the completion and security of a pipeline project to bring Turkmen natural gas to Pakistan and India via Afghan territory.

The 1,800-kilometer Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (TAPI) pipeline is projected to run from the Galkynysh gas field in Turkmenistan to the Indian city of Fazilka, passing through Herat and Kandahar in Afghanistan and Quetta and Multan in Pakistan.

Turkmenistan has already built its segment of the pipeline, but it remains unclear when the remaining length of the pipeline will be built.

A Turkmen government delegation led by Foreign Minister Rashid Meredov visited Kabul over the weekend to discuss "close cooperation and constructive dialogue with the new state structures of Afghanistan," Turkmenistan's Foreign Ministry said on November 1.

"In this regard, the sides expressed readiness of the two countries to further cooperation in promoting the construction of the projects Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (TAPI) transnational gas pipeline, the Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan (TAP) high-voltage power transmission line, and railroad lines from Turkmenistan to some provinces of Afghanistan," according to the ministry.

The statement quoted two top Taliban officials, Defense Minister Mullah Mohammad Yaqoob and Deputy Prime Minister Abdul Salam Hanafi, as saying the new government was committed to ensuring security and launching joint national projects.

While no country has recognized the government set up by the Taliban following the hard-line Islamist group's takeover of Afghan in August, senior officials from a number of countries have met with the movement's leadership both in Kabul and abroad.

With reporting by Reuters
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