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Afghanistan Petraeus Kharzai Sir Sherrard Cowper Coles al Zwahari

An Afghan roundup May 2011
by Chris Graham

Long-planned economic development plans for Afghanistan are being speeded up as the battle against the Taliban continues with renewed vigour following the killing of
al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden.

A plan for a natural gas pipeline from Turkmenistan, through Afghanistan and Pakistan, to India has moved a step closer. Afghan President Hamid Karzai and Turkmen President Gurbanguli Berdymukhamedov have agreed to speed up implementation of the plan, and also to construct a railway linking the two countries. Power lines to be built by the end of 2012 will allow Turkmenistan to supply Afghanistan with 70 percent of its electricity needs. Electricity exports to Afghanistan could reach more than 1.6 billion kilowatt hours per year.

The gas pipeline across Afghanistan, projected to ship 33 billion cubic metres a year, is backed by the United States. Afghanistan could earn more than $1 billion annually in transit fees, and maintaining the pipeline could provide jobs for 50,000 people in Afghanistan alone.

Pakistan and Afghanistan plan to implement a delayed transit trade deal that would help Afghanistan boost its trade and economy from the middle of June. The US-sponsored trade accord signed in October 2010 was to be implemented in February but was delayed because of a failure to agree on bank guarantees for Afghan goods

For the first time, the Mazar-e-Sharif power and fertiliser plant

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