KABUL (Pajhwok): The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has spurned media reports regarding a halt to the Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (TAPI) gas pipeline project, reaffirming its interest in the multi-national energy scheme.
Pakistan newspaper The News International reported on March 8 that ADB had suspended its activities related to the mega project due to no-recognition of the Taliban government in Afghanistan.
The daily said a Turkmen delegation, headed by the Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Vepa Hajiyev, met Pakistani officials led by Energy Minister Hammad Azhar on January 31.
At the meeting in Islamabad, the newspaper added, the Turkmen side disclosed that ADB had declined its interest in the project in line with global non-recognition of the Taliban regime.Some media outlets, citing this report, claimed that ADB had stopped funding the TAPI project.
In a statement to Pajhwok Afghan News, the Manila-based bank said: “ADB’s assistance in Afghanistan has been placed on hold consistent with its official statement dated 10 November 2021. “Consequently, and while remaining interested in the TAPI project, ADB has paused all its due diligence and processing activities until further notice.”
It added ADB remained committed to regional cooperation initiatives in the Central Asia and South Asia region.On November 10, 2021, the lender had said: “The ADB remains concerned about the welfare of the Afghan people and the country’s economic and social development.”
As the international community continues to assess the evolving situation in the country, ADB said it maintained the hold it placed on its assistance in Afghanistan effective August 15, 2021.ADB added it continued to consult with shareholders and other stakeholders, and to monitor the situation in Afghanistan.
“ADB remains committed to supporting the economic and social development of the Afghan people.”The TAPI financing issue emerges after Mining and Petroleum Minister Maulvi Shahabuddin Dilawar net Turkmenistan Deputy Foreign Minister Vepa Hajiyev on January 8.After the meeting, Dilawar had said particle work on TAPI project would kick off in the second half of the current year.
Hajiyev had said the situation in Afghanistan had improved and there was an opportunity for the implementation of TAPI project.nh/mud