On February 23, 2018, Turkmenistan’s President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedow, Afghanistan’s President Ashraf Ghani, Pakistan’s Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi and India’s Minister of State for External Affairs M.J. Akbar inaugurated the much awaited Turkmenistan, Afghanistan, Pakistan, India (TAPI) gas pipeline project. The ceremony was attended by the leaders of the four countries in Serhetabat, Turkmenistan, followed by another one in Herat, Afghanistan.
The inauguration was an exceptional show of regional cooperation among estranged neighbors, whereby the four countries have now agreed to complete the 1, 840 km pipeline at the cost of US $8 billion within two years. The pipeline is expected to start pumping 33 billion cubic metres (bcm) of natural gas from the Galkynysh gas field in Turkmentistan. What is more encouraging is the fact that the Taliban have also vowed to protect the pipeline in areas under their control.