Accord reached on study for regional railroad


KABUL (Pajhwok): Afghanistan, China, Iran, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan have agreed to complete a preliminary study of a regional railroad network over the next 18 months, an official said on Tuesday.

 Acting Public Work Minister Noor Gul Mangal told journalists in Kabul representatives of the five countries inked an agreement in Dushanbe last week on technical and economic feasibility of the project.

Mangal said the project would be funded by the Asian Development Bank and World Bank. China would cover 2,200 kilometers length of the ancient silk route. 1,148 km section of it would go through Afghanistan.

Starting from China, the railroad will pass through Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Afghanistan before stretching to Iran. Through Sher Khan Port, it will also be connected to Kunduz, Balkh, Jawzjan, Faryab, Badghis and Herat provinces.

Mangal said after 18 months each country would present its findings at a conference to be held in Kyrgyzstan. Afghanistan is a landlocked country, where railroad projects are essential for economic development.

 Afghanistan is among the countries where the rail network is the least developed and currently only a 75-km line is operational from Hairatan to Mazar-i-Sharif.

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