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Tuesday 15 December 2015

ADB Suspends its Participation in Supporting Construction of the TAT Railway


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DUSHANBE (Asia-Plus) — The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has suspended its support for construction of the Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Tajikistan (TAT) railway for an indefinite term owing to a tense situation in Afghanistan. Speaking at a briefing in Dushanbe, C.C. Yu, ADB’s Country Director for Tajikistan, noted on December 15 that the security situation remains volatile in Afghanistan.

Proposed route of Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Tajikistan railway

“Although Turkmenistan has completed construction of its section of the railway, we would not like to construct a railway there where security is not guaranteed. It’s very risky”, ADB’s country director said. “We will probably return to this project when the situation improves”, C.C. Yu added.

We will recall that Turkmen national news agency TDH reported last month that Turkmenistan has completed construction of its 88-km section (Atamurat-Ymamnazar-Akina) of the TAT railway.

A memorandum of understanding (MoU) for construction of the rail link connecting the three countries was signed during a trilateral meeting of the presidents of Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Afghanistan that took place in the Turkmen capital Ashgabat on March 20, 2013 on the sidelines of the International Nowruz Celebrations.

The 400-km railroad is expected to connect the Afghan town of Akina-Andkhoy to Atamurat-Ymamnazar in Turkmenistan and Panj in Tajikistan. The railway is supposed to diversify trade routes in one of the least-connected parts of Central Asia. Tajikistan has hoped the 400-km railway would help it bypass Uzbekistan, through which all its Soviet-era rails pass. Turkmenistan, which hosted a groundbreaking ceremony in June 2013 including presidents of all three countries, promised to finance its own 88-kilometer section, plus a 35-km link to the northern Afghan town of Andkhoy.

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