The Central Asian-South Asian (CASA) agreement that will see 300 megawatts of electricity transferred from Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan through Afghanistan to Pakistan annually will also be a major catalyst for development thanks to commitments by the participating countries to invest separately in local projects each year, Afghan officials said on Saturday.
Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Pakistan, as per the CASA agreement, will be obligated to fund projects in the Afghan provinces affected by the agreement. Annually, the projects must meet a minimum value of $2 million USD, and be focused in areas of infrastructure and public services.
In an interview with TOLOnews on Saturday, Ghulam Farooq Qazizada, Deputy Minister for Technical Affairs at the Ministry of Energy and Water, explained the benefits of the CASA agreement. "Af
ghanistan will benefit more from the CASA 1000 project based on the condition of good hosting by Afghanistan; we will earn an annual amount of $60 million USD from transit rights, which is a major amount for reconstruction in Afghanistan," Qazizada said. "The major issue that the other partner countries are concerned about is the issue of security, and we have assured our partners that there will be no problem."
The total cost for the CASA 1000 project is $1 billion USD and $170 million USD, and Afghanistan's share of the cost will be paid for by the World Bank. In addition, it has been said that the United States, England and European investment banks have committed to help in case of funding shortages.
"The CASA 1000 project will have a good impact on the social, political and economical issues of all four countries," Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesman Ahmad Shekib Mostaghni said on Saturday. "Afghanistan will do its best to successfully implement its part."
Looking ahead, construction is expected to begin at the end of the summer. The Breshna Company will be primarily responsible for implementation. "The Breshna Company has prepared all the technical plans of the project, and we are ready to start work in September 2015, and complete it by 2016," Breshna Public Relations Officer Waheedullah Tawhidi told TOLOnews.
The 562 km electrical line will pass through Kunduz, Baghlan, Panjshir, Kapisa, Parwan, Kabul and Nangarhar, and will reach Pakistan.