Afghanistan seeking to strengthen relations with Turkmenistan

The people of Afghanistan appreciate relations with brotherly Turkmenistan and sincerely seek to strengthen and expand them, the letter of the Afghan leader Hamid Karzai to Turkmen President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedow said.

"The people of Afghanistan and Turkmenistan recently celebrated the twentieth anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations. I am glad that the friendly relations between Afghanistan and Turkmenistan are expanding and growing every day," the message says.

The official Kabul believes that a project on the construction of the Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (TAPI) pipeline will be of a particular importance to the Afghan economy. This was said this spring at an international meeting in Ashgabat, dedicated to the restoration of peace in Afghanistan, the Afghan Deputy Foreign Minister Jawed Ludin said.

In autumn, Turkmenistan held a series of international road-show on the TAPI project with the participation of the Asian Development Bank (ADB). According to reports from Ashgabat, the heads of U.S. companies Chevron, Exxon Mobil, Britain's BP, BG Group, Germany's RWE, Malaysia's Petronas expressed their intention to participate in the project.

According to the feasibility of the project, the 1735 km long TAPI pipeline will start from the eastern region of Turkmenistan, where the largest gas fields are situated, and, after passing through the territory of Afghanistan and Pakistan will reach settlement of Fazilka (India) on the Pakistani-Indian border.

The capacity of the pipeline is 33 billion cubic meters of gas a year. At this stage, negotiations are held on the formation of the consortium, financing and security, in particular through the troubled Afghanistan.

In recent years Turkmenistan has been supplying energy to Afghanistan on favorable terms. At present the project of building a large border energy system is implemented, which will increase the volume of exports by five times.

In addition, in accordance with the framework agreement signed between the two countries during the official visit of President Karzai in Turkmenistan in May 2011, work is carried out on laying railway Atamyrat-Ymamnazar-Akin-Andkhoy.