Afghanistan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan Sign Railway MoU
Thursday 21 March 2013
ASHGABAT – Their presidents, Hamid Karzai, Emomali Rakhmon, and Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov, signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) concerning a 400 km long line that will go from Atamyrat-Ymamnazar, Turkmenistan, to Akina-Andkhoy, Afghanistan, then east to Panj, Tajikistan.
- Press conference after the signature of the MoU
Construction, which will begin in July in Turkmenistan, is expected to be complete by 2015. The rail link will help to enhance economic activities in the region, Karzai said.
According to the memorandum, the Parties within one month from the date of signing of this MoU will hold experts meeting from the relevant ministries and agencies of the three countries for detailed study of routes, as well as organizational, legal and financial bases for the practical implementation of the railway construction project. The construction of this railway will begin in early July of the current year.
The 400 km railroad would link landlocked Afghanistan to a regional transport network, increasing the country’s export potential. The country has been regularly experiencing difficulties in sending cargo through the borders of Iran and Pakistan, and consequently, it’s interested in alternative transport routes. The projected railway will start from Atamurat-Ymamnazar of Turkmenistan leading to Akina-Andkhoy of Afghanistan, then connecting to Tajikistan via Shirkhan port of Kunduz province.
A 75 km line from Afghanistan into Uzbekistan began operating in December 2011.
Leaders of the two neighbouring countries came to Turkmenistan to participate in the celebration of the international holiday of Nowruz. Following the signing ceremony, the three Presidents attended a joint press conference where they described this project as important for enhanced trade and economic development of countries in the region. At the press conference, President Karzai said that this railway would not only link Afghanistan, Turkmenistan and Tajikistan but it would also play an important role in strengthening economies of countries and peoples in this region.
For its part, Tajikistan is experiencing a shortage of energy resources, the largest supplier of which in Central Asia is Turkmenistan. Dushanbe expects to have access to the energy resources of Turkmenistan, including fossil fuels and wants to increase the supply of petroleum products into the country.