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Pakistan proposes changes to trans-Afghan rail link

AT News

KABUL: Pakistan has proposed some changes to a crucial railway project connecting Afghanistan to Pakistan and has been discussing ways to alter rail link’s path, Afghan officials said.

Afghanistan Railway Authority chief Bakht-ur-Rahman Sharafat has said that Islamabad is seeking to alter the railway’s route from Logar-Torkham to Logar-Kharlachi crossing point and has been discussed in a meeting of International Union of Railways in the Middle East held in Turkey.

He said that Pakistan has proposed another path to link Logar to Paktia and then to Karam, Chamkani districts, and finally to Pakistan via Kharlachi road, but at the moment, Uzbekistan is calling for this road.

The Afghanistan Railway Authority (ARA) noted that it does not have enough funds for the implementation of this project.

“This project also demands a lot of support since it costs a lot of money, and the existing status of Afghanistan does not require us to begin the actual work of this project until it is feasible,” Bakht-ur-Rahman Sharafat further stated.

According to some experts, the implementation of the Trams-Afghanistan Railway project will significantly lower the cost of goods and increase the nation’s exports.

“The project can form good economic and commercial foundations between the countries of Uzbekistan, Afghanistan, and Pakistan, especially in the export of Afghan materials,” said Shakir Yaqoobi, an economist.

Ismatullah Irgashev, Uzbekistan’s special envoy for Afghanistan, and Ahmad Farooq, Pakistan’s ambassador in Tashkent, have previously discussed transportation projects and the construction of a railway from Uzbekistan through Afghanistan to Pakistan.

According to statistics provided by the ARA, the Trans-Afghanistan Railway is 764 km long and its cost is estimated to be $6 billion.

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