The Aqina-Andkhoi railway in the northern province of Faryab was officially opened on Thursday.
President Ashraf Ghani and Turkmenistan President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedow both participated in the ceremony online for the opening of the railway, and Ghani commented on a new fiber optics network and several other energy projects.
“Today we witness the opening of the Aqina-Andkhoi railway following multiple national and international programs and regional connectivity projects such as the Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (TAPI) gas pipeline project, fiber optics as well as the Atamurat-Aqina and Khwaf-Herat railways,” Ghani said.
“The honorable people of Afghanistan will also witness the opening of other projects that will transform Afghanistan into a regional hub,” he said, adding: “Our relations with Turkmenistan were at an excellent level even before the agreement was signed, and the leaders of both countries are very keen to expand these relations.”
“We have held six rounds of political consultations so far as part of the political cooperation between Afghanistan and Turkmenistan. Further, the designation of Turkmen consulates in Herat and Mazar-e Sharif to 'consulate general' further strengthens our relations,” he said.
The 30-kilometer railway connects Aqina port with Andkhoi in Turkmenistan.
A memorandum of understanding for the construction of the railway was signed by Afghan and Turkmen officials in February 2019.
“The completion of the Aqina-Sheberghan 500Kv power transmission project and Sheberghan-Mazar-e Sharif 220Kv power transmission line is a significant step toward expanding mutual economic ties and will lead to linking the two countries together,” Ghani said.
Fiber optics project:
He also mentioned that the construction phase of the project has been completed in Aqina port. This is another significant project jointly undertaken by Afghanistan and Turkmenistan which upon completion can provide 2500 megabytes of internet to our compatriots in Herat and its surrounding provinces.
“We are prepared to inaugurate TAPI and TAP projects in August 2021 inside the Afghan territory and God willing, it will take place,” he said.
“We also want the 8th Summit of the Commission on Economic Cooperation between Afghanistan and Turkmenistan to be held in 2021, for which we have already shared the summit protocol with the Turkmenistan side,” Ghani said.
A month ago, the Herat-Khaf railway--a major joint infrastructural project between Afghanistan and Iran--officially opened and was hailed as a vital and important project, not only for Afghanistan and Iran but also for the region.