Kabul and Uzbekistan officials held a virtual meeting Thursday, discussing the “finalization of the railway plan” between the two countries, according to sources.
Acting Minister of Foreign Affairs Amir Khan Muttaqi attended the meeting with the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Commerce of Uzbekistan. Abdul Qahar Balkh, MoFA spokesman, said both sides of the meeting called to push through the process of completing the Termez-Mazar-e-Sharif-Kabul-Peshawar railway project.
“The two sides discussed the expansion of trade, transit and transport between Afghanistan and Uzbekistan, as well as the finalization of the roadmap for cooperation between the two countries and the Temez-Mazar-e-Sharif-Kabul-Peshawar railway plan,” he wrote in a threat.
Bakht-ur-Rahman Sharafat, head of the Afghanistan Railway Authority, said progress has been made in the construction of the Trans-Afghan railway and its survey will start within the month.
“The technical teams of the survey are expected to start their work this month, now all departments are discussing this issue,” said Sharafat, as TOLOnews quoted.
Meanwhile, Afghanistan Chamber of Commerce and Investment (ACCI) said that connecting Central Asia with South Asia through Afghanistan will have a positive impact in growing trade and transition between the countries.
“Having a railway to all three countries plays a very important role in their export and import trade, and we welcome this,” said Khairuddin Mayel, deputy of ACCI.
“The Afghanistan-Turkmenistan-Pakistan railway can make Afghanistan a regional hub and play an important role in creating jobs and reducing poverty in Afghanistan,” said Abdul Latif Nazari, deputy minister of economy.
According to a plan prepared by the Afghan Railway Authority, the Trans-Afghan Railway will cross Mazar, Samangan, Pul-e-Khumri, Kabul, Logar and Jalalabad and eventually reach Pakistan.
Uzbekistan has started building a $5bn railway across Afghanistan to link up with Pakistan’s seaports in a project promoted by the three countries, Pakistani website News International reports.
The project is being driven by Uzbekistan, which wants to establish itself as the main transit hub between Central Asia and the ports of Pakistan.
The announcement follows a meeting in Uzbek capital Tashkent in February, in which officials agreed a roadmap for the 600km line connecting the Uzbek and Pakistan networks via Mazar-e-Sharif and Kabul.—The Khaama Press Agency