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Kabul-Astana air-corridor coincides with TAPI launch

Kabul-Astana air-corridor coincides with TAPI launch

Feb 22, 2018 - 19:16

KABUL (Pajhwok): Afghanistan and Kazakhstan are all set to inaugurate an air-corridor between the two countries on Friday, an official said on Thursday.

Sameer Rasa, president’s advisor on banking and finance, told reporters here that the corridor’s inauguration would be marked by sending 4.6 tons of goods to Astana, the Kazakh capital, on Friday.

Afghan traders could use the Kabul-Astana air corridor to export their goods to the Central Asian nation, he added.  Goods to be exported to Kazakhstan tomorrow include dried fruits and carpets.

A similar air corridor has been functional between India and Afghanistan. In November last year another air corridor was launched between Kabul and Mumbai City of India.

Rasa said nearly 2,000 tons of natural herbal, dried and fresh fruits had been dispatched to Indian through the air corridor from Kandahar and Kabul.

The Kabul-Astana air corridor is going operational coincides with the inauguration of work on the Afghanistan part of the much-awaited trans-regional Tajikistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (TAPI) gas pipeline in western Herat province.

High level delegations from the four countries are expected to attend the TAPI launch ceremony in Herat City where special security arrangements have been made for the event.

Experts say TAPI is a vital project for Afghanistan and the region and believe Afghanistan besides gas will earn in transit fee from the project.

The pipeline will carry natural gas from Turkmenistan through Afghanistan to Pakistan and then India.

Afghanistan will earn nearly $400 million in transit fee. The pipeline will traverse 134 kilometres area, including Greshk and Washir districts, in Helmand.

The implementation of the project would cost around $8 billion, according to some international sources. Turkmenistan already pledged to offer 85 percent expenditures to the project.

Sameer Rasa, the presidential advisor, said Azero corridor, Charbahar port, railway projects, CASA-100 were other ambitious regional projects that would boost Afghanistan economically.

Rasa credited the unity government for extending a 220-kilowatt electricity cable from Kabul’s Arghandi area to central Logar and then southeastern Paktia provinces.

The establishment of Khan Steel Mills by the private sector and some other projects he mentioned as other achievements of the government on economic front.

He said in global economic index Afghanistan stood at 183rd position while the government was striving to promote Afghanistan the 50th position in the World Bank index.