Thursday, 14 January 2016

Does China hold key to the Afghan puzzle?

Does China hold key to the Afghan puzzle? — RT Op-Edge

Caution: pipeline ahead  

So, in principle, the Afghan talkfest will remain in effect. The Hezb-i-Islami Afghanistan (HIA), led by Gulbuddin Hekmatyar – another key player on Washington’s Top Ten Terrorist List – is also interested in the peace process. But HIA says it must be Afghan-led and Afghan-owned – meaning no Pakistani interference. Hekmatyar is clearly positioning himself for a future leading role.
The plot thickens when we turn from the Taliban to ISIS/ISIL/Daesh’s advances in Afghanistan. For circles close to former President Hamid Karzai, a.k.a. the former “mayor of Kabul” (because he controlled nothing else), Daesh is a creation of Islamabad’s foreign policy, so Pakistan may gain full access to energy-rich Central Asia, China and Russia.
That sounds a bit far-fetched when compared to what’s actually going on in Pipelineistan.
Kabul has committed to a huge 7,000-member security force to guard the $10-billion, 1,800 km long Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (TAPI) gas pipeline within Afghanistan, assuming it will really be finished by December 2018. Optimistically, heavy work on clearing TAPI’s passage – and that includes demining - will begin in April.
Turkmenistan President Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov already ordered state companies Turkmengaz and Turkmengazneftstroi to begin building the country’s 214-km section of TAPI. The pipeline will also travel 773 km in Afghanistan and 827 km in Pakistan before entering India. Whether all this frenzy will actually materialize by 2018 is open to never-ending question.

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