CASA-1000, TAPI projects to boost regional integration

Source Daily Times

With Afghanistan experiencing economic and humanitarian crisis after the collapse of Ghani regime and US withdrawal, trans-country multi-billion dollars CASA-1000 and TAPI projects will prove to be rewarding enterprises for regional economic integration.

Early completion and execution of these projects will increase the incentives for Afghan government to improve the political situation in the country and will benefit whole region, economic and diplomatic experts viewed.

Apart from meeting regional energy needs these projects will also improve the economic conditions in Afghanistan and provide the Afghan government a source of revenue, they added. Both projects are in different phases of development, however, the current situation in Afghanistan makes their completion a necessity.

The international aid and investment in Afghanistan have stopped despite the fact that the peace in Afghanistan holds critical importance for the regional peace and stability. Afghanistan’s economic integration will bind its government and can influence its policies in a positive way, the experts further viewed. New Afghan government supports both projects and their political commitment reflects the importance of these projects for Afghanistan. Afghan official Suhail Shaheen said on August 18, 2021 that TAPI was a “long-term priority project” that the Taliban fully support. Taliban representatives also visited Ashgabat, Turkmenistan in February 2021 and offered assurances of support for the project. The experts were of the view that the development of both projects will also help converge the interests of Afghan government with its neighbors. The success of both projects will directly help peace and political stability in the region.

With extremist threat still looming, joint economic projects and interests will make the regional countries’ commitment to tackle extremism even stronger, they added.

CASA-1000 is a $1.16 billion project currently under construction that will allow for the export of surplus hydroelectricity from Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan to Afghanistan and finally to Pakistan.

Project was earlier signed in 2008 while the groundbreaking for this 1,270km power transmission line took place in May 2016 by leaders of the four nations. It was the time when the US was in control of all Afghan affairs. The entire project is expected to be completed in 2023. A total of 1300 MW electricity is expected to be transferred though this project. Afghanistan will get 300 MW of electricity while Pakistan will get 1000 MW of electricity. Five major components of the project are; 485 km of 500 KV power transmission line from Datka, Kyrgyz Republic to Sugd, Tajikistan for transmission of Kyrgyz electricity exports, 115 km of 500 kV power transmission line between the Regar and Sangtuda substations in Tajikistan, with associated grid improvements, a 1,300 Megawatt (MW) Converter Station at Sangtuda, Tajikistan, 785 km High Voltage Direct Current (HVDC) power transmission line from Sangtuda, Tajikistan to Nowshera, Pakistan and a 1,300 MW Converter Station at Nowshera, Pakistan.



Transmission components under the project are being financed by the Islamic Development Bank, European Investment Bank, European Bank for Reconstruction & Development, Britain’s Department for International Development and USAID.

The state-run National Transmission & Dispatch Company (NTDC) will undertake construction of a 113-kilometre electricity transmission line from the Pak-Afghan border to Nowshera.

The Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (TAPI) pipeline will be a 1,814km trans-country natural gas pipeline running across four countries. Also known as the Peace Pipeline and Trans-Afghanistan Pipeline, the TAPI pipeline will begin in Turkmenistan and traverse Afghanistan to enter Pakistan and India.

Project was visualized earlier in 1990 but the execution remained delayed till 2008 when it was formally signed. Work in Tajikistan has been completed while it is in progress in Afghanistan and Pakistan. Taliban have also hinted at supporting the project. The $ 8 billion TAPI gas line project is being facilitated and coordinated by the Asian Development Bank (ADB).

These projects will benefit all the participating countries. The Central Asian countries will export the excess electricity to Pakistan who needs cheap electricity for its need.