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Tajikistan and Turkmenistan Agreeing on the Construction of Railway through Afghanistan

Monday 29 October 2018

DUSHANBE — Tajikistan and Turkmenistan have reached agreement on the need to intensify work on laying a railway connecting these two countries through the territory of Afghanistan.

“The issue of completion of the road was discussed last Friday during the regular meeting of the joint intergovernmental Tajik-Turkmen commission for trade, economic, scientific and technical cooperation held in Dushanbe”, the state news agency of Turkmenistan reports. At the meeting, it was noted the need to intensify work on the construction of this important infrastructure project — the construction of the railway Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Tajikistan, with a view to its timely commissioning.

The memorandum on the construction of the Tajikistan-Afghanistan-Turkmenistan railway was signed in March 2013 by the presidents of the three countries. The first phase of this road — Atamyrat-Ymamnazar (Turkmenistan)-Akina (Afghanistan) — was launched in late 2016 with the participation of the presidents of the two countries.

However, the government of Turkmenistan did not approve the protocol signed by Tajikistan and Afghanistan on the further implementation of the project for the construction of the Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Tajikistan railway. There were controversial points between Tajikistan and Afghanistan on the choice of the route of this road through the territory of Afghanistan. Two routes were suggested. The length of the short route proposed by Tajikistan is 160 km while the route proposed by the Afghan side was over 500 km. As a result, the parties managed to agree and sign the relevant protocol. In 2014, they sent it to sign to the government of Turkmenistan.

The construction of the Tajik-Afghan section also remained in question due to the situation in Afghan territory. The Asian Development Bank (ADB), which previously assumed financing for the construction of the Afghan section of this road, suspended support for this project due to the tense situation. Earlier, ADB allocated $9 mln in grant funds a feasibility study for the future railway.

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