The Government of Afghanistan has announced its plans to build a new international airport in Logar, a Taliban-dominated eastern province, in an attempt to convert the region into an aviation hub.

This $2bn project was first planned during the 1970s by then-president Mohammad Daud Khan.

However, Khan’s assassination in a coup in 1978 led to the start of Afghanistan’s civil war and subsequent foreign invasions.

Afghanistan’s Civil Aviation Authority spokesman Mohammad Naeem Salehi told Arab News that the new airport will be built in Logar province, around 45km south of Kabul.

The airport is expected to become operational by 2024.

Salehi said: “The airport will transform Afghanistan’s central zone into one of Afghanistan’s main aerial hubs and will connect it to the regional and world markets. The total cost of the airport will stand at $2bn and will be covered by the Government of Afghanistan. It will be an international standard airport, used annually by ten million passengers with a capacity of 100,000t of cargo.”

An Italian company recently completed the project’s feasibility assessment.

The new airport will act as an alternative to the main international port in Kabul, which was constructed in the 1970s.

This airport will be located in the desert of the Mohammad Agha district of Logar, near the Ainak copper mine.

This area, which is dominated by the Taliban, regularly witnesses attacks on government forces. The area is also the hometown of President Ashraf Ghani.

Logar provincial council chief Hassibullah Stanekzai was quoted by Arab News as saying: “We have enough security forces on the ground in the area for the protection of the project and in addition to this local people are cooperating on this. This is a national project on Afghanistan’s level and the Taliban will never hinder it.”

Analyst Tameem Bahiss was quoted by Arab News as saying: “The building of an airport in Logar is a laudable project, but we have to note that Logar is a very volatile province. With the deteriorating security situation in Logar and the corruption in Kabul, this project will be very challenging.”