The Iranian section of the Khaf-Herat railway route will be completed in the next two months, the Iranian Deputy Minister of Transport and Urban Development Abbas Khatiti has said.
In a trip to the Afghan western province of Herat on Monday, Khatiti said that 93 percent of the work on the Iranian portion of the railway route has been completed.
Meanwhile, Afghan railway officials in Herat said that the Afghan government will start work on the 4th phase of the Khaf-Herat railway project within the next ten days. The 4th phase of the project is to lay the track from Ghoryan district of Herat towards the Herat airport.
Referring to the economic significance of the project, officials of Herat Chamber of Commerce and Industries have said that the implementation of the project will help to further expand exports and imports relations between the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan and Afghanistan.
“We are very optimistic we will complete this project within the next one or two months and ensure that the project becomes operational 100 percent during this period,” Khatiti told reporters in Herat on Monday.
“In the 4th phase, 40 percent of the work will be focused on the geotechnical portion and surveying of the project,” said Sayed Aqa Azizi, the head of the Herat Railway Directorate. Work is ongoing by a Kazakh company hired for the project, said Azizi.
Overview of Khaf-Herat Railway
Khawaf-Herat railway will be 130 km long, of which 70 km is inside Iran soil and 60 km is inside Afghanistan. With the completion of this project, Afghanistan can take advantage of a railway for the first time that provides access to Turkey and Europe with Iran ports in the Persian Gulf.
The project was started in April 2007 with Iran’s aid at a cost of $75 million and was due to finish in 2009, but was delayed.
Completion of the project will increase transit opportunities in Afghanistan and is intended to solve many investors' and merchants’ problems.
“Khaf railway project will help to connect Herat to the entire world and develop our export ability,” said Abdul Latif Qanawizyan, the deputy head of Herat Chamber of Commerce and Industries.
Iranian officials have said that the project will also help Afghanistan to get easy access to Iranian ports at Chabahar and Bandar Abbas.
The development takes place as security threats still remain high against the project in Ghoryan district.
“When there is development and work in an area, and infrastructure comes there, of course security also increases, but we are fully ready to deal with these threats,” said Najibullah Safai, the commander of the Khaf-Herat security department.
The Herat-Khaf railway is the largest joint infrastructural project between Iran and Afghanistan.
Iran and Afghan officials have said that they do not see any problem in the way of completing the project.