Member countries of the CASA-1000 power project attended a meeting in Dushanbe in Tajikistan on Thursday where they stressed the need for more effort to be made in ensuring security and economic development in Afghanistan.
Tajikistan President Emomali Rahmon said peace and stability in Afghanistan was critical in terms of implementing the project in the country.
“Afghanistan was one of our main topics of discussion. Overcoming the Afghanistan situation and ensuring enduring peace and stability in the neighboring country is very important for our (regional countries) governments. We decided to have bilateral and quadrilateral cooperation in order to ensure lasting peace and stability (in Afghanistan),” he stated.
Pakistan’s Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif said the project was in the interests of Afghanistan and Pakistan.
“CASA-1000 project will not only bring the avenues for Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan but will also mitigate electricity shortages in Pakistan and Afghanistan and increase the prospects for growth. It will also be a source of revenue for Afghanistan opening up greater business and investment opportunities ,” he said.
The Afghan government meanwhile said the meeting was a good opportunity to improve Kabul-Islamabad relations.
“The goal of the project is to reiterate the commitment of all countries and banks who will finance the project,” said Abdul Basir Azimi, deputy minister of energy and water.
The Presidential Palace said a trilateral meeting between Afghanistan, Tajikistan and Pakistan was one of the main purposes for President Ashraf Ghani’s visit to Dushanbe.
“One of the policies of the National Unity Government is to connect the interests of regional countries in the form of economic, trade and transit projects,” Ghani’s spokesman Shahussain Murtazawi said.
The CASA-1000 project will eventually transfer at least 1,000 megawatts of power from Kyrgyzstan to Pakistan via Afghanistan.
Work on the project kicked off last year and is expected to be completed in 2020. The project will cost more than one billion USD.