KABUL: A group of militants killed five workers of the Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (TAPI) oil pipeline and kidnapped another in Afghanistan’s Kandahar province on Monday.
The attack occurred at 10 am in Maiwand district when the TAPI workers, including de-miners and topographers, were at work, Kandahar police spokesperson Zia-ul-Rahman Durrnai told Efe news.
“These workers and employees of TAPI project suffered a terrorist attack by the armed enemy in which the militants killed five of them and kidnapped a sixth one and took him with them,” Durrnai said, adding that an operation was underway to rescue the hostage.
According to Durrnai, the workers had earlier declined police protection.
Construction on the TAPI project had began in 2015 in Turkmenistan, which has the world’s fifth largest natural gas reserves, with the aim of transporting gas from the Galkynysh Gas Field in Turkmenistan through Afghanistan into Pakistan and then to India by 2019.
So far, the first phase of the project has been completed, with the laying of 214 km of pipeline out of the total 1,814 km.
The second phase began in February and will involve the construction of 816 km of the pipeline through five troubled Afghan provinces including Kandahar and will take the pipeline upto Quetta in western Pakistan.
According to preliminary forecasts, the project was likely to cost around $7.5 billion and will be able to transport 33 billion of cubic metres of gas per year up to the Indian border.