Signing of the roadmap for the historical project of the Mazar-i-Sharif-Kabul-Peshawar railway (according to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Ministry of Industry and Commerce of IRA)
The roadmap and document on the planning and construction of the Mazar-i-Sharif- Kabul-Peshawar railway line were signed by the representatives of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, Republic of Uzbekistan and Islamic Republic of Pakistan at a historic conference in Tashkent on 2 February 2021. The signing of this document is an important step towards bringing the countries closer together and expanding regional cooperation, as a result of which the task of ensuring a stable transport connection between Central Asia and South Asia through Afghanistan will be implemented.
The governmental agreement was signed in Tashkent by the Adviser to Prime Minister of Pakistan for Commerce and Investment Abdul Razak Dawood, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Investments and Foreign Trade of Uzbekistan Sardor Umurzakov, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Afghanistan Mohammad Hanif Atmar. The meeting was also attended by Minister of Industry and Commerce of Afghanistan Nisar Ahmad Ghoryani, as well as representatives of the international financial institutions (via video conferencing) such as AIIB, ADB, EBRD, EIB, Islamic Development Bank, World Bank, who expressed their interest to support the project.
As part of the agenda of the meeting, various aspects of the implementation of the project for the construction of the railway line Mazar-i-Sharif – Kabul – Peshawar were comprehensively considered, including practical issues related to the organisation of an international expedition for conducting geodetic, hydrogeological and topographic studies, the preparation of a scheme for the construction of the missing rail tracks and relevant cartographic activities, the development of a preliminary feasibility study of the project, as well as the development of effective mechanisms for financing pre-project research, construction management and the distribution of responsibilities of the parties.
The agreement is a continuation of a series of negotiations at the highest official levels, following which on 29 December 2020, the heads of state of Uzbekistan, Afghanistan and Pakistan sent a joint appeal to international financial institutions with a proposal to support the project covering the construction of new railway lines which will link the three countries. The project covers the construction of the railway line Mazar-i-Sharif – Kabul – Peshawar with a total length of 573 km.
The IRA Foreign Minister Mohammad Hanif Atman highly appreciated the organisation and quality of the trilateral meeting in Uzbekistan and expressed his gratitude to the Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Investment and Foreign Trade of Uzbekistan Sardor Umurzakov.
Assessing the importance of the project, Mohammad Hanif Atman noted: “Transport links and communications mean not only the use of potential funds for expanding trade, transit and investment in order to develop the economies and prosperity of countries, but also to strengthen the potential and foundations of cooperation in order to establish peace, stability and security.”
Sardor Umurzakov in his speech called the construction of the Mazar-i-Sharif-Kabul- Peshawar railway an important and historical project in this century, noting that the implementation of the project will change the prospects for economic progress in Central Asia. He also expressed full readiness of Uzbekistan to successfully implement this project.
The meeting was also attended by the representatives of a number of international financial institutions and organisations, including the Islamic Development Bank, Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, Asian Development Bank, World Bank, European Investment Bank, who expressed their support and readiness to finance this railway project.
The implementation of the Mazar-i-Sharif- Kabul-Peshawar railway project will significantly reduce the time and cost of transporting goods along the North-South corridor by about 30 percent. Thus, the delivery time of goods from the Russian border (Ozinki station) to Karachi (Pakistan) will be 16-18 days, and from Termez (Uzbekistan) to Karachi about 8-10 days.
According to the preliminary estimates, in the first years of operation, the traffic volume may grow up to 10 million tons.