Teams from Afghanistan, Uzbekistan and Pakistan will meet in the city of Termez, Uzbekistan, on Tuesday to discuss key issues around the $5 billion railway project that passes through Afghanistan to link up with Pakistan’s seaports.
Bakht-ur-Rahman Sharafat, head of the Afghan railway department, said that all preparations have been made for the start of the railway project and that the Ministry of Interior has given a written commitment to ensure its safety.
He added that Uzbekistan will build the railway from Naibabad city in Uzbekistan to Mazar-e-Sharif and Samangan in Afghanistan and that Pakistan will continue its part of the railway from Jalalabad to Peshawar.
“We have a meeting in the Termez city of Uzbekistan to discuss and monitor things closely and see how things are and where to start,” he said.
“We support the development of the road, and our goal is for Afghanistan to be a linking point in the region through railways,” said Abdul Latif Nazari, the deputy minister of economy.
According to a plan prepared by the Afghan railway department, the Trans-Afghan Railway project will cross Mazar, Samangan, Pul-e-Khumri, Kabul, Logar and Jalalabad and eventually reach Pakistan.
Meanwhile, the Ministry of Interior said the security of the project is the responsibility of public protection unit.
“The railway project, which now runs from Hairatan to Peshawar, plans to hire at least 4,000 people to protect it, and more if needed,” said Abdul Nafi Takur, the Interior Ministry's spokesman.
Russia and Kazakhstan are also interested in building a trans-Afghan railway in the near future, according to officials.
The Chamber of Commerce and Investment and analysts said that connection between Central Asia and South Asia through Afghanistan will benefit the country's trade and investment.
“The private sector supports this program, and this railway is useful for the country's exports and imports,” said Khairuddin Mayel, deputy head commerce department at the Chamber of Commerce and Investment.
“The construction of the railway is a good step and is essential for Afghanistan's economy and for trade relations in the region,” said Hamidullah Yalani, an economist.