The foreign ministers of Turkmenistan and Afghanistan on Saturday began a two-day conference in the western Afghan city of Herat to discuss key regional energy transfer and trade projects.
According to the Foreign Ministry in Kabul, Afghan Foreign Minister Mohammad Haneef Atmar led a high-level delegation and held talks with his Turkmen counterpart Rashid Mardov, focusing on projects such as the TAPI (Turkmenistan, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and India) gas pipeline and the Lapis Lazuli transit route connecting Afghanistan to Turkey and Europe via Turkmenistan, Azerbaijan, and Georgia.
Earlier this year, Afghan President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani and his Turkmen counterpart Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov oversaw the inauguration of three major energy and connectivity projects aimed at bolstering bilateral and regional ties.
Ghani had noted on the occasion that it was a source of great pride for Afghanistan to be resuming long-standing relations with Central Asian countries after more than a century of isolation.
'Regional connectivity clusters and large-scale projects such as railway, TAPI gas pipeline, TAP power transmission line, fiber optics network that can link South Asia to Europe by land and to the rest of the world will transform the living conditions of the Afghan people for the better and improve the situation in the entire region,' Ghani had said.
- Afghanistan welcomes $266M US aid
Afghanistan's Foreign Ministry on Saturday welcomed humanitarian assistance by the US worth more than $266 million in the backdrop of the withdrawal of international troops from the war-torn country.
It said in a statement that the Afghan government was committed to using these funds to save lives, provide shelter, livelihoods, and health care, as well as water and food for those in need. The ministry also commended other international donors for their assistance in providing humanitarian aid to Afghanistan.
Earlier on Friday, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken announced the more than $266 million worth of humanitarian assistance to Afghanistan. The assistance will provide support to 'some of the estimated 18 million people in need in Afghanistan, including more than 4.8 million Afghans internally displaced,' Blinken said in a statement.
By Shadi Khan Saif in Kabul, Afghanistan