A pipeline to Kandahar province is about to be changed to the name of a Taliban pipeline to Pakistan that has helped fuel tensions with the United States.
The Taliban announced the new name Thursday.
The pipeline connects Afghanistan to Pakistan through Afghanistan, but is not built into the country’s infrastructure.
The new name will be announced by the Afghan Ministry of Energy on Thursday.
Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said the pipeline was renamed in honor of former President Hamid Karzai.
The name is not official, and it could not be confirmed if the new line is built into Afghanistan’s infrastructure, he said.
The government of Afghanistan has made several decisions in recent years to name projects after people in power, including a $10 billion deal to build the world’s largest pipeline to the Pakistani port city of Karachi.
The previous name for the pipeline is the Khatm-e-Islam pipeline.
In the past, Taliban spokesman Shahidullah Shahid said, the government has used a number of names for projects and people associated with them.
The latest name has come out of the government’s planning for the Kakhidha-e Khatmar (Khatm) pipeline, which connects Kandahar to Pakistan’s capital, Islamabad.
The Khatma-e Gulshan-e Barakat pipeline, also under construction, is a natural gas pipeline that supplies Karachi to Lahore.
The two pipelines will link the capital to the northern provinces of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Sindh.
Pakistan’s foreign minister, Khawaja Asif, said in a statement the name change will give a more appropriate context for the project, which is about a billion dollars.
“It will not only create more economic opportunities, but will also help to strengthen ties between the two countries, especially as we continue our efforts to end the conflict in Afghanistan,” Asif said.
A spokesman for the United Nations mission in Afghanistan, Jan Egeland, told The Associated Press that he was not familiar with the name dispute and said he was aware of the pipeline name change.
“We have no information on the Taliban being unhappy with the new designation, or that the Taliban are opposed to the pipeline,” Egeland said.
He added that the United Nation’s mission to Afghanistan has had no discussions with the Taliban.
The United Nations says it is not aware of any complaints about the name.
The dispute came to the attention of the United State Department in September, when the Taliban announced it would begin construction on a $5.4 billion pipeline that would provide oil and gas to Pakistan and Afghanistan, bypassing the country.
The project is set to be completed in 2023.
In November, a Taliban spokesman said the name conflict is an internal one and that the pipeline will not be named.
In an interview with the Associated Press, Hamid Gul, a member of the Taliban council on national affairs, said the project would be a major success for the Taliban and for the country, according to the AP.
“The project will not harm the Afghan people and its development, but it will benefit the Taliban regime,” Gul said.
Taliban leaders in Pakistan said they were disappointed in the change in the name, which they view as a slap in the face to the people of Afghanistan.
Gul said the government of President Ashraf Ghani, which has a major role in overseeing the pipeline project, had asked the Taliban to postpone the project’s completion for several months.
“After seeing the Taliban name change, we will not accept it,” Gul told the AP in an interview.
The AP reached out to the Afghan government and the Taliban for comment.