Work on Khaf-Herat Railway to begin soon: Officials

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The Afghanistan Railway Authority (ARA) said on Tuesday that construction work on the Khaf-Herat railway, which is partially damaged in the Rawzanak area, will begin soon.

The Khaf-Herat railway is a project which would link Iran via Afghanistan to China.

Bakht Rahman Sharafat, the director of the ARA, and other delegates from the Islamic Emirate have met with an Iranian delegation three times to begin transportation of passengers and cargo via the Khaf-Herat railway, which is a priority for Islamic Emirate.

“The recent changes made some problems for the railway. The station in the Rawzanak area of Ghoryan district was partially destroyed and other parts need serious supervision,” said Bakht Rahman Sharafat.

He said that Rawzanak station and the third segment of Khaf-Herat railway need reconstruction, and the financial planning for this has been completed. The third segment of the project runs from Chah-e-Sorkh to Rawzanak, in Herat province.

Officials at the Ministry of Economy (MoE) believe the project will play a good role in the growing economy of Afghanistan.

“Railways have vital roles for economic development, and the Khaf-Herat Railway can do the same in the area of freight, trading and growing Afghanistan’s economy,” said Abdul Latif Nazari, the deputy minister of economy.

“The restart of the Khaf-Herat Railway is one of the best options. It should be revived with close cooperation of Iran and the Islamic Emirate,” said Hamidullah Ellani, an economic expert.

“It will create a major hope for the 600,000 unemployed youths who live in Herat. This will also increase our exports,” said Sayed Wahid Qatali, the governor of Herat.

Afghan officials have said that the project will decrease the costs of products that Afghanistan exports to the other destinations in the region.

Khaf-Herat railway is 130 km long, with 70 km in Iran and 60 km in Afghanistan.

On Wednesday, Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif hailed the joint railway project linking eastern Iran to western Afghanistan as a boost to regional trade and travel.

Khaf-Herat railway is important “not only for Iran and Afghanistan, but for the greater region,” Zarif said in a tweet, adding that “as a gateway that’ll boost trade and people-to-people exchanges, it will also contribute to regional stability and development.”

A week ago, for the first time, imported goods arrived in Herat from Iran via the Herat-Khaf railway. The cargo was “500 (metric) tons of cement,” said officials.

Meanwhile, another passenger train carrying Iranian officials also arrived in the Ghoryan district of Herat.

Afghanistan can now benefit from a railway that for the first time links Turkey and Europe with Iranian ports in the Persian Gulf.

The project was started in April 2007 with Iran’s aid at a cost of $75 million and was due to finish in 2009 but was delayed because of various issues.

Completion of the project will affect transit facilities in Afghanistan and solve many investors’ and merchants’ problems.

Overview of Khaf-Herat Railway

With the completion of this project, Afghanistan can take advantage of a railway for the first time that provides access to Turkey and Europe via Iran’s ports in the Persian Gulf.

The project was started in April 2007. Iran’s pledged $75 million in aid and the project was due to finish in 2009, but was delayed.

Completion of the project will increase transit opportunities in Afghanistan and is intended to solve many investors’ and merchants’ problems. The Herat-Khaf railway is the largest joint infrastructural project between Iran and Afghanistan.—Tolonews

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