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Editorial: Regional connectivity

To improve the national economy, the government shall join hands with the neighboring countries for regional connectivity. There are several ways to accelerate the economic growth. Regional connectivity through roads and rail-links is one of best way. Afghanistan can modernize its agriculture sector and increase production but it cannot supply the agri-products on time if the roads were in poor condition. The country will also have problem in exporting mass quantity of fruits and vegetables if there was no railroad connecting us with the neighboring countries. Modern states see national economy as one of the top national interests. They forge alliances with rivals in this regard.

Without regional connectivity, the government cannot create employment opportunities or make the country the heart of Asia in real sense. It is also imperative for boosting national economy through generation of enormous amount in revenues. It is also essential for attracting foreign investors to the country because investors see time more valuable than money. Easy and quick supply of their products, made in Afghanistan, will cut their expenses. Thus, it enables them to compete at the regional and international levels. Inexpensive products will provide advantage to the companies to find new markets. Furthermore, it will create win-win situation for the government and business community in Afghanistan.

Moreover, regional connectivity is essential to start and speed up work on the mega mining projects such as Mes Aynak in Logar province and Hajigak in Bamyan province. Mes Aynak contains the world’s second largest copper deposit but the Beijing-based China Metallurgical Group Corporation (MCC) is unable to start extraction and processing of copper due to insecurity and poor infrastructure. Supply of the raw material is also a challenge for mining companies in the country. Likewise, the Hajigak iron ore deposit is a mega project which can change fate of the local population and give boost to the economy. The mine contains 1.8 billion tons of ore, as per estimation.

Realizing this fact, the government has decided to launch survey of the Jalalabad-Peshawar railway track. Ministry of Public Works will work with a private company to complete the survey of 75 kilometer track. The railroad is 150 km long but only 75 km pass through Nangarhar province. PKR 60 million has been allocated for the survey which will take eight months. Pakistan is financing the project. Keeping in view the greater national interests, the government shall provide security and facilities to the company to complete the survey. This project, which is vital for economic growth, shall not fall prey to politics. It will not only benefit Afghans on this side of the Durand Line but also our sisters and brothers living on the other side of the line.

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