Uzbekistan to Help Afghanistan Repair Hairaton – Mazar-e-Sharif Railroad

@IStock

Uzbekistan Temir Yollari (Railways) will help Afghanistan repair a section of the Hairaton – Mazar-e-Sharif railroad connecting the two countries. One-hundred-and-twenty workers workers from Uzbekistan went to Naibabad station to carry out the first stage. Freight cars will also be delivered there, and rehabilitation work will be carried out at Hairaton Station and on the 57th kilometer of the line. Officials from Uzbekistan and Afghanistan agreed to repair the road on favorable terms last November.

The Hairaton – Mazar-e-Sharif railroad was built for $129 million in 2010, and is currently maintained by Uzbekistan Temir Yollari’s subsidiary, Sogdiana Trans. In April 2022, the Afghan authorities wanted to transfer the management and operation of the line to local companies based on the low cost of their services. However, these plans remained unrealized.

Currently, Uzbekistan and Afghanistan are negotiating a trilateral project to build the Trans-Afghan railroad and provide preferential tariff rates for railway transportation. Its launch will speed up cargo delivery between Uzbekistan and Pakistan to 3-5 days, and make it three times cheaper.

According to initial calculations made by Uzbekistan Temir Yollari in 2022, the cost of the railway was estimated at $4.6 billion for five years. The Committee on Railway Infrastructure of the Senate of Pakistan then made its own calculations and announced a figure of $8.2 billion. At the end of last year, the Ministry of Transport of Uzbekistan reduced those calculations to $7 billion, and proposed an option to implement a public-private partnership under a format called Build-Operate-Transfer.

By the end of last year, trade between Uzbekistan and Afghanistan grew more than sixfold, totaling $266 million annually, with more than 98% of that coming from Uzbek exports.