The Kabul times, Afghanistan Trustable News Agency.

UEA planning to establish large-scale railway network for regional connectivity

Afghanistan is planning to establish a “large-scale” railway network for regional connectivity and increase regional transit and transfers through the country. The ambitious plan, billed as Mazar-e-Sharif-Herat-Kandahar Railway Project, has been approved by the country’s Economic Commission, and will be completed with domestic revenue, said a statement from the office of the deputy prime minister for economic affairs on Monday, which did not mention the estimated cost of the project. The 1,468-kilometer-long (912 miles) network, which will pass through 37 districts of nine Afghan provinces, aims to connect East Asia with Iran, Türkiye and Europe through Afghanistan. With this, the country’s Ministry of Industry and Commerce (MoIC) has informed that a cargo train carrying goods from Iran arrived Tuesday in Herat on a trial basis. This comes as another trade route was opened between Pakistan and Afghanistan via the bordering Spin Boldak district of Kandahar province on the same day. According to the country’s ministry of industry and commerce, the train carrying goods on a trial basis successfully reached to Rozanak Station in Herat province. In a statement issued Tuesday, the country’s ministry of industry and commerce said that trade goods would be transported between Iran and Afghanistan in the same way. The Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (IEA) wants to establish a network of railways to connect South Asia with Central Asia. This network would pass from different areas of Afghanistan and would play key role in regional connectivity. The ministry of commerce and industry said that the budget for this massive national project would be provided from internal resources. It is the first time that trade goods are transported to Afghanistan from Iran through railway. It will help increase imports and exports between the two neighboring countries. Meanwhile, Kandahar officials said that a special transit route was opened between Kandahar in Afghanistan and Chaman in Pakistan. The route was formed in Zara village of Spin Boldak district of Kandahar due to the efforts of the Spin Boldak commissary and Kandahar Chamber of Commerce and Investment. According to officials in Kandahar, the new route will prove very effective in promoting trade between the two countries and resolving transportation problems. It is worth mentioning that the Trans-Afghan railway project, first proposed in December 2018 by Uzbekistan, aims at extending the Afghan rail network from Mazar-eSharif to Kabul and then to Nangarhar province, where the railway would cross the Torkham border and run into Pakistan via Peshawar. Once in Pakistan, goods will be offloaded to connect with the Pakistan rail system and from there will eventually travel down to the Pakistani seaports of Karachi, Gwadar, and Qasim. S. Raqib

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The Kabul times, Afghanistan Trustable News Agency.