Afghanistan pledges soldiers for TAPI pipeline

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KABUL. December 13. KAZINFORM About 7,000 soldiers from Afghan security forces will guard the projected Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (TAPI) gas pipeline, construction of which is due to start in 2012, Afghanistan's Bakhtar news agency said late on Sunday, quoting the country's Minister of Mines Wahidullah Shahrani.

Shahrani said if large forces were needed to defend the pipeline, they would be in place.

Afghanistan,India, Pakistan and Turkmenistan signed a final agreement on Saturday to build the TAPI gas pipeline, intended to carry gas to India from Central Asian states.

In October, Russian Deputy Prime Minister Igor Sechin said gas giant Gazprom might participate in a consortium to build the pipeline. India suggested Gazprom join the project as one of its suppliers along with Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan.

The 1,700 kilometer pipeline will have a flow capacity of 30 billion cubic meters per year and a rough cost of $4 billion. The project, stalled by the war in Afghanistan, is supported by the Asian Development Bank, Kazinform refers to RIA Novosti.

See www.en.rian.ru

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