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Editorial: Transitional era

The dawn of Monday brought good news—railroad connecting Afghanistan to Turkmenistan— for the Afghan nation which is the victim of terrorism and extremism.  The news has strengthened the hopes that the country would not slide back into the era of violence and chaos. Afghans remember the period of destruction when the country has lost its hard built infrastructure of invasion, foreign influence and civil war. Afghanistan should have been the most developed country in South Asia by now, given the rich history. However, the uninterrupted foreign interference and evil strategic designs of the neighboring countries have never let the country to remain on the track of development.

After fall of the Taliban regime in 2001, the democratic forces have realized that the only way to salvation is dedication, hard work and regional connectivity and improved relations with regional and global community. Certain countries are still stuck with their aggressive designs but it would not roll back the achievements that the Afghans have made in the past 15 years. The anti-Afghanistan elements can slow the process but they cannot sabotage it. That is why the Afghan people have high hopes and they are looking for brighter future ahead. The future holds too many great things. But prosperity is not possible in the modern era sans regional connectivity as the world has become a global village due to advancement of information technology and shared economic interests.

Inauguration of the railway track which connects the Aqina dry port of Faryab province with Turkmenistan is a milestone. Currently, the railroad stretches 3.5 km into the country but in the second phase it would connect more Afghan cities to the neighboring Central Asian country. The Asian Development Bank (ADB) is supporting the project. Ministry of Public Works hopes that the ADB would pay nearly $350 million for this important regional project. No doubt the project would bring additional transport facilities to the region and would enable the Afghan products to find way to international markets, as the Afghan president Ashraf Ghani pointed out.

In this era of transition and transformation it is absolutely necessary to focus on regional connectivity in order to reduce reliance on transit trade routes of a single country. Railroads are more important when it comes to transfer of transit goods in huge quantity and easily. To look after such important projects, the Afghan government should establish Ministry of Railways. It will help to expedite work on the railway projects. In absence of such a ministry, it will be difficult to manage these projects in the near future. A directorate will not suffice the needs and requirements.

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