Uzbekistan and Afghanistan sign agreement on rail extension

The President of Uzbekistan Shavkat Mirziyoyev and the President of Afghanistan Mohammad Ashraf Ghani signed an agreement on the construction of the Mazar – e – Sharif – Sheberghan – Maymana – Herat railway line, planned within the framework of the Trans-Afghan Transport Corridor.
In 2011, the two countries put into service a 75-km rail link connecting the border city of Hairatan (in Afghanistan) to the city of Mazar-i-Sharif in northern Afghanistan. Uzbekistan Railways has constructed the line, that needed a USD 170 million investment, provided by Asian Development Bank (USD 165 million) and USD 5 million by the Afghan Government.
Since then, Uzbekistan expressed its interest to extend the rail link to Herat (in the western part of Afghanistan) and a connection to Iran. Currently, a rail link from Herat to Iran is being constructed, allowing traffic from Uzbekistan to the Iran’s Persian Gulf ports.
The two Presidents noted the priority importance of bilateral cooperation in the field of transport and transit corridors, which provide the shortest and most effective access to foreign markets. To that end, “the parties agreed to further intensify mutual efforts aimed at ensuring the construction of railways and highways, as well as facilitating the development of transit traffic and trade on the territory of Afghanistan,” the joint statement says.
During the official visit of the Afghan President to Uzbekistan, 20 documents aimed at further strengthening of cooperation in political, trade-economic, investment, transport-communication, scientific, education and other spheres were signed.

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