The Kabul times, Afghanistan Trustable News Agency.

China-Tajikistan-Afghanistan corridor; a new transit route towards regional trade

With the Islamic Emirate takeover and improvement of the overall security situation, new opportunities have been created for the expansion of regional trade and connections between countries in the region. As Afghanistan is in a good geopolitical position in Asia and the key policy of the Islamic Emirate is to have good economic and political relations with world and regional countries, efforts have been doubled towards the construction of roads and transit corridors in the region by Afghanistan and other regional countries. In its most recent move, Tajikistan has proposed taking practical measures for the construction of road and rail routes along the ‘China-Tajikistan-Afghanistan’ corridor. Tajik President Emomali Rahmon has recently met Chinese President Xi Jinping in Tajikistan and proposed taking some practical steps in this regard. “The construction and reconstruction of the “Kalai-Khumb– Vanch – Rushon district border” road will contribute to the improvement of the “China-Tajikistan-Uzbekistan-TurkmenistanIran-Türkiye” transit corridor. In this regard, we suggested considering the possibility of constructing and modernizing the “Dushanbe-Kulma” highway section from the Rushon district to the “Kulma-Karasu” border crossing. We also propose taking practical measures for the construc ion of road and rail routes along the “China-Tajikistan-Afghanistan” corridor to expand connections and regional trade,” Rahmon said. In the meantime, the TransAfghan Railway project, presenting vast economic opportunities for regional trade and collaboration, is under construction. It stretches over 600 kilometers primarily through Afghanistan and Pakistan. According to preliminary estimates, the Trans-Afghan Railway is valued at $5 billion and has a transit capacity of up to 20 million tons of cargo. Its implementation is crucial for advancing transportation and trade relations in both Central Asia and South Asia. The project will help to connect three countries: Uzbekistan, Afghanistan and Pakistan. The project will play an important role in the creation of the Eurasian Transport Corridor. With the completion of the project, Central Asian countries will have access to an Indian Ocean port. The railroad will reduce the delivery time of goods from 35 to 5 days, and the cost of goods delivery will be reduced by at least 40 percent. The TransAfghan railway project, first suggested by Uzbekistan in December 2018, proposes to extend the Afghan rail network from Mazare-Sharif to Kabul and then to Paktia province. In Afghanistan’s Badakhshan, construction work on Wakhan Corridor, extending from the Wakhan district of Badakhshan to the Chinese border, is underway. With the opening and completion of this route, Afghanistan and China will get direct access to each other’s markets. This can reduce the distance and further lower the cost of the imports and exports of commercial goods between the two countries. With the opening and completion of the Wakhan Corridor, trade and bilateral relations between Afghanistan and China, considered as important and beneficial for both countries, will further increase. The Afghan and Chinese governments have already started talks over the commencement of traffic through the Wakhan Corridor, a narrow strip of territory in northeastern Badakhshan stretching 350 km to China. The construction of the road that directly links the two countries is considered as significant as it can somehow reduce Afghanistan’s reliance on some regional countries for transit trade. The construction of the Wakhan Corridor will also benefit other countries such as Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Iran and Pakistan as it creates a significant opportunity for increasing trade and economic activity in the region. This route can further facilitate the trade of various commercial goods between the respective countries. Hasammudin

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The Kabul times, Afghanistan Trustable News Agency.