Sources said Monday that at least 264 armed groups, including the Taliban, pose a serious threat to the implementation of the vital TAPI gas pipeline project.
Sources told TOLOnews that more than 3,300 armed men – in groups – are active in Herat, Farah, Nimroz, Helmand and Kandahar provinces. The pipeline is expected to pass through all five provinces.
Sources said these groups pose a serious challenge to implementing the TAPI project and that already they have made the roads insecure.
Meanwhile security institutions said Monday that they hope to deploy 7,000 soldiers to safeguard TAPI gas pipeline in those provinces and that they will also call on locals and tribal elders to support and help.
According to TOLOnews’ findings 3,373 armed men from 264 illegally armed groups are active along the pipeline’s proposed route.
The findings are as follows:
30 groups – 436 armed men – along Herat highway
145 groups – -2,036 armed men – along Farah highway
16 groups – 222 armed men – along Nimroz highway
4 groups – 100 armed men – along Helmand highway and
69 groups – 939 armed men – on Kandahar highway
“There are serious problems in this regard but the government can provide the security of TAPI project with the help of the people’s support and especially that of tribal elders,” said Khalil Ahmad Shahidzada Herat province representative in parliament.
“There are different groups creating insecurity on the routes but we believe that the people’s cooperation can implement the project and the people support the project’s implementation,” said Farid Bakhtor Farah provincial council head.
However, the Ministry of Defense said that despite insecurity, the Afghan forces are ready to provide security for the TAPI project.
“Not only security of TAPI pipeline but security of all parts of the country is the duty of Afghan forces and we are going to do that,” said Dawlat Waziri MoD spokesman.
These comments comes after Herat, Farah, Nimroz, Helmand and Kandahar provinces tribal elders met with President Ashraf Ghani on Saturday and declared their support for the TAPI project after the president called on them to cooperate in this regard.