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Afghanistan Times

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Editorial: Mega-regional projects this year

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2018 will be a year of opportunity, and transparency. We hope that, and taking it as a year toward having a better tomorrow from what we are suffering today. 2017 was a real roller coaster, serving up optimism and pessimism in equal measures. We have witnessed deadly attacks, with martyring tens of Afghan civilians and military personnel, while we had a very successful foreign policy and very good business relations with regional countries. There were both—achievements and backlashes. Security and economy remained delicate, but we succeeded to show the civilized world that Afghans, by nature and history had never been terrorists and extremists, and the ongoing war is being imposed on us. Despite it was a very heavy one for the Afghan masses, but gave birth to a tangible result as President Trump in his first 2018 tweet, assailed the mother of all terrorists—Pakistan, a hostile neighbor as well. Credit for scoring a number of wonder achievements on many national and international fronts goes to the noble leadership of the Unity Government. Now, Kabul has been in offensive position, while enemies of Afghanistan, whether they terrorists or terror sponsor states are in state of regional and global isolation. There is no argument over it. Like him (Trump), world leaders now have visible knowledge that Pakistan has been supporting and harboring the very terrorist outfits on its soil that fueling war in our county. This is our biggest success in 2017, and 2018 will be the year of implementation. Beside practical steps toward Pakistan to shun its project of supporting terrorism—major regional economic projects including CASA-1000 and TAPI pipeline projects will be implemented this year. The relevant government institutions say they have prepared for ensuring the safety of the projects and as well as raising public awareness on their importance. Moreover, the last phase of the ring road, Machalgho Dam in Paktia province would be completed this year. Meanwhile, work on the TAPI project will kick off in Herat province next month. “The goal of the public awareness program is to ensure that people understand the importance of major economic projects. We have held talks with tribal elders, religious scholars and the youth in Nimroz, Herat, Kandahar, Helmand, Farah and all other parts where the pipeline passes through,” spokesman for Ministry of Mines and Petroleum, told ToloNews. Security institutions have taken responsibility for ensuring the safety of these projects. This provides us ground to remain confident and optimistic toward better tomorrow. In the meantime, we also want the government to end corruption culture in the country, which is a great threat to these mega-projects. Without doubt, building big infrastructure projects is always risky as the enemies will do everything under its capacity to create obstacles, but the wise leadership of the National Unity Government and the general Afghan masses has to dash all such conspiracies to the ground with the weapon of collective wisdom, spirit of Afghan-ism and comprehensive planning. Mega projects are crucial to the future of our country. The problem is that these projects often go off the rails, either with regard to budget or time—or both. But, nothing can stop Afghanistan from going forward to implement these projects to see light of the day. In the face of four decades of war—great power interventions and regional and global rivalries have delivered death and destruction to our country. But efforts are on fully swing and series of transitional energy and infrastructure projects would transform the landlocked country into hub for energy, trade, and transport—something we are already in shaping.