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U.S. Supported Pipeline Will Continue, Despite Gender Apartheid in Afghanistan

Despite promises from oil companies to hold off on a $1.9 billion gas pipeline until there is a recognized government and peace in Afghanistan, Pakistan officials stated that the agreement between the nations is very close to being formalized. The pipeline will travel 105 miles in Turkmenistan, 462 in Afghanistan and 328 in Pakistan, pumping oil from a gas field in Daulatabad with a reserve of 25 trillion cubic feet.

Pakistan officials met directly with the Taliban militia rebels who have taken over much of Afghanistan. Pakistan’s Petroleum and Natural Resources Minister Chaudhry Nisar stated, “I convinced Afghans that this particular project was most important for Afghanistan for a number of reasons. If this project goes through, it will bring Afghanistan and most importantly, their government, on the international energy map.”

The Taliban met with Unocal, a United States oil and gas company, and decided to go ahead with the project. Unocal holds 46.5 percent of the stake in the line, and has begun training of Afghan men in the U.S. to build the pipeline.

The Feminist Majority, other women’s organizations and human rights groups worry that the pipeline, which would earn the Taliban $50 to $100 million a year, will lead to recognition of the Taliban government. The militia group has initiated a war of gender apartheid, banning women and girls from working, going to school, and from leaving their homes without wearing a “burqa,” a debilitating head-to-toe garment.

Media Resources: Reuters - January 26, 1998



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