The TAPI pipeline would skirt the edges of the Hindu Kush mountains (pictured) in southern Afghanistan, crossing through Taliban strongholds. The insurgents are not, however, the only threat to the project.
(MANJUNATH KIRAN/AFP/Getty Images)
Afghanistan has found itself wedged between competing powers throughout its history. In the 19th century, the country became the playing field for the "Great Game," as the United Kingdom tried to defend its colonial holdings in India against Russia's creeping influence in Central Asia. Today, though the British and Russian empires have long since fallen, Afghanistan is still caught in the middle. But this time, its position presents an opportunity. At the country's eastern border, Pakistan and India are in the midst of an energy shortage that is hindering their economic growth. Meanwhile, just north of Afghanistan lies a wealth of natural gas deposits in energy-rich Turkmenistan.
Enter the Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (TAPI) project, a proposed 1,735-kilometer (1,078-mile) pipeline running from the Galkynysh natural gas field in southern Turkmenistan through Afghanistan and Pakistan to India. Once complete, the pipeline will transport a total of 33 billion cubic meters of natural gas each year...