(OTTAWA) – A new report released today by the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives (CCPA) raises serious questions about the impact of a proposed trans-Afghanistan natural gas pipeline on the role of Canadian Forces in that war-torn country.
A Pipeline Through a Troubled Land: Afghanistan, Canada and the New Great Energy Game documents the proposed Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (TAPI) pipeline, which will transport natural gas 1,680 kilometres from southeast Turkmenistan through southern Afghanistan, to Pakistan and India.
The report, written by international energy economist and former lead economist of PetroCanada John Foster, describes the U.S.-backed pipeline as turning Afghanistan into “an energy bridge” between Central and South Asia.
“The U.S. is our ally and it clearly asserts the geopolitical importance of the region. But the quest for 'energy security' risks drawing Canada unwittingly into a new Great Energy Game," said Foster.
A Gas Pipeline Framework Agreement, signed by representatives of the four nations on April 25, 2008, commits the four nations to initiating construction of the $7.6 billion gas pipeline in 2010, supplying gas by 2015.
“Canada’s debate has been devoid of any discussion about how building a U.S.-backed pipeline through Kandahar would affect Canadian Forces’ efforts to build peace and stability in Afghanistan’s most troubled province,” said Bruce Campbell, CCPA Executive Director. “Will Canadian Forces become guardians of this pipeline?”
The report notes that Canadian Members of Parliament and officials have participated in regional energy meetings; but in government speeches and media reports, it’s as if no meetings have ever taken place.
The report is available online at www.policyalternatives.ca
- 30 -
For further information contact Kerri-Anne Finn, CCPA Communications Officer, 613-563-1341 (ext. 306).