Uzbekistan ready to fund part of Afghanistan railway project

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KABUL (TCA) — The Afghan Ministry of Finance says Uzbekistan has pledged to fund the Herat — Mazar-e-Sharif railway project in Afghanistan, Afghan news agency TOLOnews reports.

Finance Ministry spokesman Ajmal Abdulrahimzai told TOLOnews that during the Tashkent conference on Afghanistan earlier this week, Tashkent announced it would invest US $500 million in the railway project.

Afghanistan Railway Authority meanwhile said the project will cost $1.8 billion USD in total and that the Afghan government is looking to secure more funding from other countries.

According to the Authority, once completed, the railway line will be an important transit route between China, Europe, Russia, Central Asian countries and South Asian countries.

The head of the Authority, Mohammad Yama Shams, said there was other countries’ interest in assisting with the project.

“We have started talks with Iran because the railroad will connect to Iran. They have shown interest. Serious discussions are ongoing with the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank which is in China and, meanwhile, China itself is interested to invest in the railway (project),” he said.

The Afghanistan Railway Authority said the project will provide job opportunities for at least 30,000 people and Afghanistan would earn about $40 million USD annually from such a link.

The railway will be 657 kilometers long and will take two years to be built.

The procurement details of the project will be completed by the end of this year and the contracting company will be selected in the near future, the Afghan Railway Authority said.

Sergey Kwan

TCA