Ashgabat, 23 February 2018 (nCa) — TAPI enters its second phase of implementation today as the launch ceremony takes place in two part – first part in Serhetabat district of Turkmenistan, and the second part in Herat city of Afghanistan.
President Berdymuhamedov of Turkmenistan, President Ashraf Ghani of Afghanistan, Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi of Pakistan, and M J Akbar, the minister of state for external affairs of India will take part in both parts of this historic ceremony.
The critics of TAPI (Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India gas pipeline project), from the earliest days have mentioned the security in the territory of Afghanistan, and financing, as the two main hurdles in the way of this project.
Whenever the security of TAPI was mentioned in the media, the Taliban were projected as the main enemy and the primary threat.
This is as far from truth as possible.
Zabihullah Mujahid, the spokesman of the Taliban, told the Arab News as recently as this week that the ‘Taliban were in favour of this project and will protect it.’ He added that TAPI ‘is an important project.’
Afghan President Ashraf Ghani’s spokesman Shah Hussien Mutazawi told Arab News that the tribal chiefs and communities along the route of TAPI had expressed ‘earnest willingness to protect it and now allow anyone to sabotage.’
Xinhua reported on 20 February 2018 that Mullah Rasul Akhund, the leader of a faction of the Taliban, with strong presence along the route of TAPI had stated that ‘his men will do whatever they can to provide security for the TAPI project.’
Abdul Manan Niazi, a deputy to Rasul Akhund told local journalists that the project is “a national project and people of Afghanistan are obliged to support it.”
According to Niazi, the supporters of Rasoul Akhund have been “working hard to convince people to support the TAPI project,” saying it is a national project and all people will benefit from it, reports Xinhua.
Reuters reported 29 November 2016 that The Afghan Taliban had offered to protect major government projects, such as the mining of a big copper deposit and an international natural gas pipeline project, to allow them to get off the ground after years of delay.
According to the Reuters report:
“The Islamic Emirate not only backs all national projects which are in the interest of the people and result in the development and prosperity of the nation but are also committed to safeguarding them,” the Taliban said in a statement.
“The Islamic Emirate directs all its mujahideen to help in the security of all national projects that are in the higher interest of Islam and the country,” they said, referring to their fighters.
Here is the statement of the Taliban, as available on their official website https://alemarah-english.com/?p=7766
“The Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan is an Islamic and national force of the country waging Jihad and struggling to bring an end to the occupation, giving all lawful rights to the people and securing Islamic and national goals. And the sacrifices it has presented in this path are not hidden from anyone.
“And just as the leader of the Islamic Emirate has stated in his messages and as declared by delegations of the Political Office during international conferences, the Islamic Emirate not only backs all national projects which are in the interest of the people and result in the development and prosperity of the nation but are also committed to safeguarding them. These include large national projects like TAPI, CASA-1000, Mes Aynak, highway and railway projects, power and agricultural dams and other such projects that follow the guidelines set out by the Islamic Emirate.
“The Islamic Emirate directs all its Mujahideen to help in the security of all national projects that are in the higher interest of Islam and the country.”
Clearly, the Taliban are not going to pose any threat to TAPI. However, that doesn’t mean that there would be no threat to TAPI. It is quite likely that some false-flag operations may take place, with the responsibility being falsely pinned on the Taliban or being claimed by the so-called ISIS. /// nCa