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Unocal Suspends Afghan Pipeline Project, But Makes No Promises on Women

California-based oil company Unocal announced last Friday that it has revised its position regarding a proposed gas pipeline that would run from Turkmenistan through Afghanistan to Pakistan and could earn the repressive Taliban regime in excess of $100 million annually.

In its revised statement, UNOCAL announced that it has "suspended all activities involving the proposed pipeline project" and will not invest money in the project "unless and until" the U.N. and the U.S. recognize a legitimize government in Afghanistan. Unocal stated that their participation was also dependent on the country's ability to obtain the capital necessary to begin construction.

No such pre-qualifications were issued concerning the Taliban's harsh abuse of Afghan women. Unocal's revised position statement included only one sentence on the matter, which read, "Unocal recognizes the legitimate concerns regarding the treatment of women in Afghanistan." Unocal made no promise to act on those concerns.

The Los Angeles Times reported Friday that it would ignore protests by human rights activists and remain in Myanmar (formerly known as Burma) despite takeover of the country by a military regime that has punished pro-democracy activists and stopped free-elections. Unocal Chairman and CEO Roger Beach said he was proud to by in Myanmar and would do business in Iran if U.S. sanctions didn't prevent it.

Media Resources: Unocal Position Statement - August 21, 1998



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