Memorandum signed for feasibility study of Trans-Afghan railway project

TASHKENT, Uzbekistan — A memorandum of understanding for the feasibility studies of the Trans-Afghan Railway project has been signed by the Taliban-run National Railway Administration, Uzbekistan, and the United Arab Emirates, the Taliban announced in a statement on Tuesday.

The agreement, signed during a trip to Tashkent, outlines plans for feasibility studies on the project, which aims to connect Central Asia with South Asia. The studies will be conducted by ADL Ulanish, a company backed by the United Arab Emirates, which will also provide financial support for the project.

Uzbek media reported that a meeting involving a Taliban delegation and officials from Uzbekistan, Pakistan, and the United Arab Emirates took place on Feb. 19 in Tashkent, focusing on the Trans-Afghan Railway project, estimated to be worth $5 billion.

In February 2023, Uzbekistan and Pakistan announced initiatives to expedite the construction of the Trans-Afghan railway, demonstrating a joint commitment to boosting regional connectivity. This initiative gained further momentum with a quadrilateral meeting on Dec. 7, 2024, involving transport ministries from Uzbekistan, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Qatar. The meeting, which also included leaders from various railway administrations, focused on implementing the railway construction project.

On Dec. 27, Uzbekistan’s Minister of Transport, Ilhom Mahkamov, engaged in discussions with a delegation headed by Hamidullah Akhundzada, the acting Minister of Transport and Civil Aviation of Afghanistan.

Their meeting covered a range of topics related to transport and logistics cooperation. Key discussion points included toll collection methods, enhancing transit development through Afghanistan, and tariff concessions for railway transportation. Both parties also explored strategies to fast-track the construction of the Uzbekistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan railway project.