DUSHANBE, Aug 19 (Reuters) - A $1.2 billion Western-backed
project to build a power line between Central Asia and South
Asia has been stalled by turmoil in Afghanistan, a project
official told Reuters on Friday.
The CASA-1000 project aims to allow Tajikistan and
Kyrgyzstan, former Soviet republics with an extensive network of
hydroelectric power plants, to sell excess energy to Pakistan
and Afghanistan in the summer months.
Faizali Samiyev, the head of the Tajik project
implementation office, said work on the project, originally
scheduled to be completed next year, continued in three
countries, but not in Afghanistan.
While the World Bank, a key CASA-1000 backer, continues
financing projects in Afghanistan, it has decided to focus on
urgently needed education, agriculture, health and family
programmes and bypass sanctioned Taliban authorities by
disbursing the money through United Nations agencies and
international aid groups.
Funding for the CASA-1000 project - which was designed to
provide Pakistan with 1,000 megawatts (MW) of power and
Afghanistan with 300 MW - has been suspended, Samiyev said.
"(We hope that) contacts will be established with the Afghan
side and ways to implement the project will be worked out," he
The project could be a boon for the two Central Asian
nations which have excess power in the summer but suffer from
shortages in the winter unless they can buy fuel or power from
The United States was involved in financing the project when
it was launched https://www.reuters.com/article/uk-tajikistan-pakistan-power-idUKKCN0Y31R5
in 2016 as part of its New Silk Road initiative to integrate
Afghanistan with Central Asia. Other project sponsors have
included the Islamic Development Bank, the UK Department for
International Development, and the European Bank for
Reconstruction and Development.
(Reporting by Nazarali Pirnazarov
Writing by Olzhas Auyezov
Editing by Mark Potter)