Uzbekistan to start talks with investors for Trans-Afghanistan Railway Line

File photo.

Uzbekistan is expected to start negotiations soon with foreign investors for the construction of the Termez-Mazar-e-Sharif-Kabul-Peshawar railway line that will directly connect Uzbekistan with Afghanistan and Pakistan.

Khidmatullah Obaidullaove, head of Uzbekistan’s mass media support department, said in a tweet that this project includes the construction of three tunnels and one hundred crossings along the railway line.

“Uzbekistan will start negotiations with foreign investors for the construction of the Termez-Mazar-e-Sharif-Kabul-Peshawar railway line next year. In the framework of this project, 765 kilometers of railway track will be built, and the cost of the project is estimated at $4.6 billion, and it will be implemented over 5 years,” Obaidullaove said.

The railway project, also known as the Trans-Afghanistan Railway Line, will connect Uzbekistan to Pakistan, via Afghanistan, and aims to link key markets of Southeast Asia to Central Asia, China, and Europe.

The talks on ways to finance the project are expected to begin in 2023, an Uzbek official said.

A number of Uzbek officials said that the Trans-Afghanistan Railway Line will connect ten towns in Uzbekistan, Afghanistan, and Pakistan, and at the same time, be useful for the mining sector in Afghanistan.

The project is expected to provide around five million people with employment.

The Afghanistan Chamber of Industries and Mines (ACIM) told Amu TV that the construction of the Trans-Afghanistan Railway Line will provide the basis for the growth of domestic production in the country and that materials at a cheap price would be available to dozens of factories in Afghanistan.

Sakhi Ahmad Paiman, deputy head of the ACIM, said: “The construction of the Trans-Afghanistan Railway Line is important for the private sector, particularly manufacturers in the country as well as for those who are active in the mining sector; the railway will be useful for both the transportation of the country’s minerals and the import of commercial and industrial goods.”

An economic expert said that regional railway lines would increase Afghanistan’s income and boost exports of goods to foreign countries.

Economic expert Azarakhsh Hafizi said: “The Trans-Afghanistan railway connecting South Asia to Central Asia project will be very useful; it will be extremely useful for the growth of the regional economy and trade exchange between Central Asia and South Asia, and this will create many jobs in Afghanistan in the transportation, service, and hotel sectors, as well as it will facilitate trade between Afghanistan and South Asia, and Central Asian countries.”

Uzbek officials have said that once the Trans-Afghanistan Railway begins operation, it will have the capacity to transport three million tons of goods and the capacity would be increased to more than 15 million tons by 2030, and it will reduce the time to transport and cost of goods by 40 percent.

The Trans-Afghan Railway Line was proposed by Uzbekistan in December 2018. Afghanistan is currently connected with two Central Asian countries, Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan, via railway lines.