By Shadi Khan Saif
KABUL, Afghanistan (AA) – Afghanistan and Turkmenistan on Thursday inaugurated three major energy and connectivity projects aimed at bolstering bilateral and regional ties.
Afghan President Ashraf Ghani and his Turkmen counterpart Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedow oversaw the inauguration of the projects through video links from Kabul and Ashgabat.
Ghani said it is a matter of immense pride that Afghanistan is renewing its longstanding relations with Central Asian countries.
“Regional connectivity clusters and large-scale projects such as railway, TAPI [Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India] gas pipeline, TAP [Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan] power transmission line, fiber optics network that can link South Asia to the Europe by land and to the rest of the world will transform the living conditions of the Afghan people for the better and improve the situation in the entire region,” he said,
Waheed Tauhidi, spokesman for Afghanistan’s power utility company Da Afghanistan Breshna Shirkat, told Anadolu Agency that one of the three projects is the 500kv Karki-Andkhoy-Pul-e Khomri power transmission project. It will help over 300,000 families in Afghanistan in getting connected to the power grid.
A statement by the Afghan presidency said the other two include a fiber optics project aimed at providing 2,500 MBS internet to users in Afghanistan’s Herat and surrounding provinces.
The third project is the 30 km railway link between the two neighbors – 24 km main railroad and 6 km branch line – in Andkhoy station along with construction of small bridges, level crossings and a road parallel to the railroad.
“Through the railroad, Afghanistan can connect with many countries, which is a significant step towards turning Afghanistan into the Asian roundabout," it said.