On Friday, workers at the Turkmen-Afghan border welded the first link crossing the frontier in a ceremony observed on video bridge by the presidents of Turkmenistan and Afghanistan, Pakistan's prime minister and India's foreign minister.
Long championed by Turkmenistan, home to the world's fourth largest petrol reserves, construction on the 1,800-kilometre pipeline began in 2015 and is expected to cost some $10 billion.
The prime minister along with the delegation, comprising Minister of State for Petroleum Jam Kamal Khan, Provincial Minister for Labour and HR Raja Ashfaq Sarwar, Ambassador of Pakistan to Turkmenistan Mr. Murad Ashraf Janjua and other senior government officials, reached Mary on Thursday on the invitation from the President of Turkmenistan Gurbanguly Berdimuhamadov. "The South Asia is being connected with the Central Asia through Afghanistan after more than a century of separation", Ghani said. "This is not only an economic but also a political project".
The pipeline will traverse war-wracked Afghanistan, raising security concerns.
"There were pessimistic voices, but now we are witnessing the construction of the TAPI gas pipeline", he said, using the acronym for the conduit which takes its name from the four countries. But a spokesman for the insurgent group, Zabihullah Mujahid, says it supports the project and will ensure the pipeline's protection.
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"It [TAPI] will provide gas pipeline, power transmission, roads and rail and an economic zone".
The pipeline mostly runs through parts of southwestern Afghanistan where the Taliban insurgency controls or influences many districts. He assured the Turkmen, Afghan and Indian leaders of Pakistan's full cooperation in making TAPI a success.
India's Minister of State External Affairs at the event said his country is committed to supporting the project.
He said he did not see just one gas line but several gas pipelines to overcome energy shortages.
Ghani described the project as a "corridor of development" and stressed on regional cooperation. The ADB is acting as the facilitator and coordinator for the project.