Will Afghanistan Be the Central Asian Hub for Economic Cooperation?

By Gamal Khattab March 17, 2024 131

Building Foundations for Growth

After two decades of war in Afghanistan, the country is now looking towards sustainable economic growth by connecting with Central Asia. Several major projects are in the works that could benefit both the region and Afghanistan.

Gas Pipeline and Power Transmission

In February, Afghan Foreign Minister Amir Khan Mottaki visited Turkmenistan to discuss completing a natural gas pipeline that would run through Turkmenistan, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and India. While Afghanistan will only receive a small portion of the gas flow, the project's completion would be a significant political win for the Taliban.

A Power Transmission Line and Railway Lines

Additionally, talks were held about constructing a power transmission line and railway lines between Turkmenistan, Afghanistan, and Pakistan. Afghanistan also agreed to purchase electricity from Turkmenistan, further strengthening their ties.

Electricity Agreements

Tajikistan plans to increase electricity sales to Afghanistan, despite facing energy rationing locally. This agreement, along with others with Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan, will help ensure a reliable electricity supply for Afghanistan.

Good Neighbor Relations

Afghanistan has shown goodwill by paying its energy bills to neighboring countries. This demonstrates their commitment to being a good neighbor and fostering positive relationships in the region.

Challenges and Opportunities

While there are promising projects on the horizon, challenges remain. Tensions between Pakistan and India could impact the gas pipeline project, and security concerns linger, particularly regarding ISIS attacks.

Projects like CASA-1000 and the trans-Afghanistan railway line offer opportunities for economic growth and regional connectivity. However, delays and sanctions could hinder progress.

Looking Towards the Future

Afghanistan has the potential to become a key player in regional security and economic cooperation. By engaging with neighboring countries and addressing critical issues like climate change and water management, Afghanistan can pave the way for a brighter future.

Recent meetings between Uzbekistan and Afghanistan signal a commitment to collaboration, with projects like the Gosh Tepe water canal showing promise for future partnerships.

Source: Oil Price