Afghan Voice Agency(AVA)_Monitoring, The proposed railway is a joint initiative by Uzbekistan, Afghanistan and Pakistan which is intended to promote regional connectivity and trade. It would also provide Central Asia with access to Pakistan’s seaports, Railway Gazette International reported.
The cost is provisionally estimated at $5 billion. Surveying by a joint technical team from the three countries began at Naibabad on the existing Uzbekistan – Hairatan – Mazar-i-Sharif railway on July 27 and was completed at Torkham on the border with Pakistan on August 10.
The joint team will make any necessary changes to the proposed alignment before presenting a final route to the authorities in the three countries for further technical and economic feasibility studies, Railway Gazette International reported.
The Afghanistan Railway Authority said the members of the tri-national technical team considered the survey a success, and had expressed satisfaction with the arrangements made by the Afghan government and the professional behavior of the railway authority.
Bakht-u-Rehman Sharafat, who became ARA Chairman following the IEA takeover of Afghanistan in August 2021, said railway projects would guarantee Afghanistan’s economic development and also security.
History, economics and conflict mean that Afghanistan’s rail links to Central Asia are currently limited to two short 1 520 mm gauge cross-border links from Turkmenistan and the 75 km line from Uzbekistan to Mazar-e-Sharif.
A 1 435 mm gauge line from Khaf in Iran towards Herat was inaugurated as far as Rozanak in December 2020; this was damaged last year and needs to be repaired.