Turkmenistan is initiating a number of large international and regional projects, including the transit transport corridor Lapis Lazuli along the Afghanistan-Turkmenistan-Azerbaijan-Georgia-Turkey route, The Trend reported after it was announced by the State Customs Service of Turkmenistan.
The relevant agreement between Turkmenistan, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Turkey and Afghanistan was signed on Nov. 15, 2017 in Ashgabat at the ministerial meeting of the 7th Regional Economic Cooperation Conference on Afghanistan.
According to the Lapis Lazuli project, railway lines and highways should connect the city of Turgundi (Afghan province Herat) with Ashgabat, then with the Caspian port of Turkmenbashi. The corridor will stretch to Baku, then through Tbilisi to Ankara with branches in Poti and Batumi, then from Ankara to Istanbul. The project budget, which aims to facilitate transit logistics and simplify customs procedures, is estimated at $2 billion.
Last week, government officials from Ashgabat and Kabul also launched new section of the Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Tajikistan railway, which will help traders in Kabul and Kandahar market their products to customers as far away as China and other Pacific rim countries.
The newly-launched railway line is supposed to become a part of the 400-km (249 mi.) trade and transportation corridor connecting Jaloliddini Balkhi district in Tajikistan, the cities of Sherkhan Bandar, Kunduz, Mazari Sharif, Sheberghan, Andkhoy, and Aqina in Afghanistan, and Turkmenistan’s Ymamnazar and Kerki (formerly known as Atamyrat). The railway line may be extended to the border with Kyrgyzstan, with further access to the states of the Asia-Pacific region.
Turkmenistan has many projects associated with Afghanistan, one such being the Turkmenistan–Afghanistan–Pakistan–India Pipeline (TAPI), also known as Trans-Afghanistan Pipeline, which is a natural gas pipeline being developed by the Galkynysh – TAPI Pipeline Company Limited with participation of the Asian Development Bank.
The pipeline will transport natural gas from the Galkynysh Gas Field in Turkmenistan through Afghanistan into Pakistan and then to India.