Afghan Combat Unit Starts Operation For TAPI Project

A special combat unit of Afghan security forces, started operation to stabilise Afghanistan's war-ravaged provinces, involving a major gas pipeline project, an official said, Monday.

Construction work of the Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (TAPI) pipeline project, in Afghan territory was inaugurated in Feb, 2018.

However, less work has been done in Afghanistan's terrain so far, as security issue over the construction and maintenance of the line has remained big concern.

The formation of the new security unit is part of the government's efforts, to provide security for the Highway One crossing, from Delaram district, Nimroz province to Maiwand district, Kandahar province, onward to Greshk district, in neighbouring Helmand province, Omar Zwak, Helmand provincial government spokesman, told Xinhua.

The TAPI pipeline is expected to pass through five Afghan provinces, namely Herat, Farah, Nimroz, Helmand and Kandahar.

The 700-member combat unit, tasked to provide security for the TAPI project, was formed two months ago, but the unit started operation only a couple of days ago, Zwak added.

The official noted that, although work on the TAPI project has not still practically started, the unit has begun the hard-duty and already managed to ensure enormous change in the security of most parts of Helmand province.

The project will transfer natural gas of Turkmenistan to Pakistan and India, through Afghanistan.

The TAPI pipeline project, which was expected to be completed by 2019, was inaugurated by leaders of the four involved countries, in Jan, 2016.

The work on the Turkmenistan section has been completed, but on its section in Afghanistan it failed, due to rising insecurity.

The TAPI project, according to officials, would transport 33 billion cubic metres of natural gas from Galkynysh gas reserve in Turkmenistan annually, along the 1,800 km-long route to Fazilka, near the border with Pakistan in northern India.

Afghanistan would earn 500 million U.S. dollars, as royalty each year, from the TAPI project.

According to Afghan observers, implementation of the TAPI project would also provide job opportunities for more than 10,000 people in Afghanistan.