Uzbekistan Opens Coordination Office for Trans-Afghan Train Project

Uzbekistan Opens Coordination Office for Trans-Afghan Train Project
The opening ceremony of project coordination office in Tashkent (Photo: Uzbek State Railways Company)

The Uzbek State Railway Company announced on Saturday the opening of a project coordination office in Tashkent to further plans to construct a railroad from Uzbekistan through Afghanistan to Pakistan, news agency reported.

“The opening of a project office in Tashkent will enable specialists to organize more effectively by meeting face to face,” Bakht-ur-Rehman Sharafat, the head of the Afghanistan Railway Authority, said at the opening ceremony.

Speaking at the same event, Pakistan’s ambassador to Uzbekistan, Ahmed Farooq, said completion of the route would bring Central Asia closer to Pakistan’s 230 million population and open up trade opportunities with countries in the Arabian Sea.

The railroad was first proposed in 2017, with Uzbek President Shavkat Mirziyoyev signing an agreement with Afghanistan's former President Ashraf Ghani to build a route from Mazar-i-Sharif to Herat. According to the report, the 760-kilometer railroad could reduce delivery times of goods by up to five days and decrease the cost of cargo transportation by 30-40%. If the project is completed by the end of 2027, 15 million tons of goods could be transported annually by 2030.

The expected cost of the work was estimated at $4.6 billion by Uzbekistan. In May 2021, Uzbek officials said that World Bank, European Investment Bank, Asian Infrastructure Bank, and United States International Development Finance Corporation were interested in investing in the project.