President’s Visit to Turkmenistan
Turkmenistan a country with vast deserts, countless herds of livestock and enriching reserves of fuel and gas shares a 744-Kilometer joint border from north and north-west with Afghanistan. In the past, although Afghanistan and Turkmenistan used to have limited relations, they got patronage of The Soviet Union. Maintaining relations between Afghanistan and Turkmenistan turns back to the recent two decades.
After ousting of The Soviet Union, Afghanistan was one of the first countries that formally recognized Turkmenistan as an independent country in 1991. Subsequent to 9/11 – September 11th, 2011 – and falling of the Taliban Regime in Afghanistan, ties between the two countries entered a new stage.
Foreign Policy of Turkmenistan is based on positive neutrality. That’s why, Turkmenistan has had the least role in internal conflicts of Afghanistan in comparison with other neighbors. Turkmenistan’s neutral policy caused its vigilant and good relations with states of Afghanistan in different periods.
President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani through a planned trip while a number of government officials accompanying him paid a visit to Ishqabad – Capital of Turkmenistan – on Dalw 1, 1393 coincided with January 21, 2105. The purpose of this trip was to strengthen ties between the two countries in regional issues, economic, commercial, and cultural areas. President had already stated that he tried to promote economy of the country through strengthening ties with the regional countries.
It is mentionable that President Ghani delivered his remarks to students at National Economic University of Turkmenistan. He also visited the historical city of Marw.
During the president’s two-day trip to Turkmenistan, the presidents of Afghanistan and Turkmenistan inked cooperative agreement on political, diplomatic, economic, power and sport areas. Inking of the cooperative agreements between Afghanistan and Turkmenistan and implementation of vital plans of the region mark as growing convergence and mutual relations. Meanwhile, Afghanistan gets ready to buy extra electricity power of Turkmenistan and transfer gas and electricity power of Turkmenistan to the third countries as well as world markets.
Also, Afghanistan, beside TAPI Project and power transit, will be changed to a transit intersection by establishing lapis lazuli route and formation of railway between Afghanistan, Turkmenistan, Tajikistan, China from one side and Turkmenistan, Afghanistan, Iran and Turkey from the other side. With this, Afghanistan no longer will be dependent, in aspect of transiting goods, to a number of neighbor countries.
• Doubling the level of trade in the current year (2015) between the two countries;
• Boosting export of energy from Turkmenistan to Afghanistan (500 MW);
• Immediate starting to implement the project of transferring gas to Pakistan and India through Afghanistan;
• Establishing the lapis lazuli route from Afghanistan to Europe through Central Asia;
• Building railway between Afghanistan, Turkmenistan, Iran, Tajikistan, China and Pakistan;
• Building the new exporting terminal between Afghanistan and Turkmenistan;
• Increasing of gas and fuel export; and
• Spreading the commercial ties, in particular, handcrafts and rug.
Furthermore, Turkmenistan is committed:
- to build several hospitals, Masjids and maternity centers in Balkh, Jawzjan and Herat Provinces;
- establish a special store to supply Turkmenistan-made products in Mazar-e-Sharif;
- to build railway from Torghondi to Herat and from Aqeena Port to Andkhoi;
The capacity of fuel and gas terminal is remarkably increased on two border points of Turkmenistan and Afghanistan which grows the level of Turkmenistan’s fuel and gas exports to several folds, and value of commercial exchanges will reach from current 1 billion dollars to 2 billion dollars in the new year (AD). Turkmenistan has also pledged to increase the number of Afghan students in that country while 75 Afghan citizens are currently studying at Higher Educational Institutions of Turkmenistan and 100 Afghan students have been graduated and returned home.