Afghanistan key player in regional energy projects
According to the Asian Development Bank (ADB), Afghanistan is an integral part of the major energy projects, such as the Turkmenistan-Uzbekistan-Tajikistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan (TUTAP) and Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (TAPI) gas pipeline, in the region.
The TUTAP project serves to import electricity from the energy rich Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan to Afghanistan and Pakistan, where energy deficit is high and electricity must be imported to meet domestic demands.
Funded by the Asian Development Bank, the TUTAP is a vital infrastructure project to promote trade in electricity between the aforementioned countries and to bring close the supply and demand markets for energy.
Turkmenistan, being the fourth largest gas reserves in the world, is the largest contribution in terms of supply in this project.
TAPI is a 1,600-km gas pipeline which would export up to 33 billion cubic meters of natural gas annually from energy-rich Central Asia to energy-deficient South Asia. The cost of the project is currently estimated at USD 10bn, but the final cost will be determined upon completion of the project.
In addition to the arena of energy, Afghanistan is also an integral part of several road and railway projects along CAREC Corridors 3,5 and 6.
Principal economist with ADB’s Regional Cooperation and Operations Coordination Division, Pradeep Srivastava, highlighted Qaisa-Laman road (233 km), Leman-Armalick Road (52 Km), Pul-i-Khumri-Doshi road (52 km), Kabul-Jalalabad road (150 km), and Mazar-i-Sharif-Kunduz road as the main road and railway projects in the area of multimodal transport.
Furthermore, a concept paper for the construction of an alternative tunnel to the existing Salang tunnel has been approved by ADB, with the World Bank supporting the construction of the Baghlan-Bamiyan road as well as the rehabilitation of the existing Salang road and tunnel.
“For the rail sector, a feasibility study for the Rozanak/Ghorian-Herat track has been completed,” Heart of Asia quotes Srivastava. Feasibility studies are ongoing for the Sher Khan Bandar-Kunduz-Kholam-Naibabad-Andkhoi railway line, the AqinaAnkhoy track and Aqina railway station, and the Torghondi-Herat railroad.
The meeting of Senior Officials of Central Asia Regional Economic Cooperation (CAREC) was held in Islamabad in July of this year. The meeting aimed at promoting development through cooperation in four priority areas: transport, trade facilitation, trade policy and energy.
Pakistan will also host 15th Ministerial Conference of the organization on 26th October this year where multibillion dollars worth of projects is expected to be finalized.
The draft for formulation of ‘CAREC Railway Strategy 2030’ and ‘Road Safety Strategy’ will be presented for endorsement at the 15th ministerial conference, said the statement issued by the Economic Affairs Division.
CAREC comprises of 10 countries and six multilateral institutions with the mandate of promoting development through regional cooperation.
The expected deliverables of the conference include CAREC railway development strategy (2016-2030), launching of the regional food safety initiative, Astana Bishkek Corridor, mid-term review of CAREC 2020, signing of agreement for establishing CAREC institute, Georgia membership and railway strategy for CAREC.
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