Amu Region

Uzbek president discusses accelerating Trans-Afghan railway project with Qatari PM

TASHKENT, Uzbekistan — Uzbekistan’s President Shavkat Mirziyoyev in a meeting with Qatari Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdurrahman Al Thani on Monday discussed expediting the Trans-Afghan railway project, among other regional issues, the Uzbek presidential office reported.

The meeting highlighted the need for “promoting joint investment projects and quickly creating effective mechanisms for their financial support,” according to a statement from the president’s office. The discussions also focused on “speeding up the implementation of the Trans-Afghan railway construction project.”

Additional topics included the deteriorating situation in the Middle East, with both sides exchanging views on the regional agenda.

The Qatari delegation was in Uzbekistan for a meeting with foreign ministers from the Arab States of Central Asia, the Uzbek presidential press service said.

On February 19, a meeting in Tashkent that included Taliban representatives and officials from Uzbekistan, Pakistan, and the United Arab Emirates centered on the $5 billion Trans-Afghan Railway project.

In a related development, Uzbekistan and Pakistan in February 2023 announced initiatives to accelerate the railway’s construction, aiming to enhance regional connectivity. This effort was further advanced during a quadrilateral meeting on December 7, 2024, with transport ministries from Uzbekistan, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Qatar, which focused on implementing the railway project.

On December 27, Uzbekistan’s Transport Minister Ilhom Mahkamov discussed the project with a delegation led by Hamidullah Akhundzada, Afghanistan’s acting Minister of Transport and Civil Aviation.

Additionally, in late February 2024, a memorandum of understanding for the feasibility studies of the Trans-Afghan Railway was signed by the Taliban-run National Railway Administration, Uzbekistan, and the United Arab Emirates.