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Pakistan, Uzbekistan Reaffirm to Accelerate Work on Trans Afghan Railway Project

Pakistan, Uzbekistan Reaffirm to Accelerate Work on Trans Afghan Railway Project

Pakistan Railway minister Azam Sawati held a meeting with Uzbekistan Transport Minister to discuss the bilateral issues. The minister Railway especially discussed the necessary steps to be taken in regard to the Trans Afghan Railway Project between Uzbekistan, Pakistan, and Afghanistan and conveyed to him the directives of PM Imran Khan regarding the implementations of the project deliverables. During the meeting, the execution of the trilateral understanding on the construction of the railway track between Mazar-e -Sharif, Kabul, Jalalabad, and Peshawar was discussed in detail and both sides agreed to speed up the pace of work on implementation of the project in letter and spirit.

The Transport Minister of Uzbekistan and Pakistan Railway Minister also appreciated the interest taken by the Chinese government in financing the project and the Russian commitment for technical assistance as agreed in the recent meeting in Tashkent. The Project after implementation will provide land-locked Uzbekistan direct access to the Port of Gwader and Bin Qasim. The construction of a Railway network would also help to a great extent in reducing the miseries of war-torn Afghans. The access to Pakistan’s ports will provide the shortest route to see to the Central Asian States.

In this connection, the Afghan Government has recently offered full security to Pakistan, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, and Russia. Pakistan Railway Chairman told the newsmen that two routes are being considered to connect Mizar-e Sharif with Peshawar, “ Under the Trans-Afghan Railways’ plan devised by the authorities in Pakistan and Afghanistan, two routes are being considered to connect Mazar-i-Sharif (Afghanistan) with Peshawar (Pakistan). Like Karachi Circular Railway Mega Project, This one Mega route is 700km long and other is 900km and new advanced trains will be added. Besides this, four proposals related to the financial arrangement, feasibility, etc, regarding these routes are being worked out,”

Recently a two-day conference of the Joint Working Group was held through a video link to discuss the project. The conference that was presided over by Pakistan Railway Chairman and Uzbekistan, Afghanistan, and Russia participated through video link. The participants strongly recommended the 2017-30 Central Asian Regional Economic Cooperation and, according to the Railway chairman, were unanimous to speed up the process of laying the track. Chairman Pakistan Railway added, “ During the conference, a work plan/line of action and protocols to proceed further were also signed by the respective countries’ representatives”,. In December 2020 Pakistan had signed an understanding with Afghanistan and Uzbekistan and sent the same to International Financing Institutions for funding of a $4.8 billion loan for the said project.

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