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Reaping benefits

Taking advantage of the expanding energy capacity, Turkmenistan has completed the construction of a section of Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Tajikistan railway. The interregional railway project is supposed to increase commercial and trade activities between the three neighboring countries. Afghanistan and Tajikistan still to complete the sections of railway in their respective territory. According to the Turkmen government, two railway bridges are under construction. Turkmenistan is also going to start work on construction of two railway stations which means the neighboring countries would soon complete the part of project outshining the two other neighbors. The project is of significant importance for Afghanistan because it would not only improve the national economy but also fight extremism while creating hundreds of jobs.

Whether it was the previous government or the current, improvement of communication and transportation system remained core of the economic policies. Railway projects had been on top of the agenda but the Afghan government lacks sufficient budget and technical requirement to execute such projects. Most of these projects are emphasizing on regional connectivity because Afghanistan is located at the heart of Asia—connecting energy-starving South Asia with energy-rich Central Asia and East Asia with Gulf States through Iran. This strategic position has to be cashed for benefits of Afghans who have suffered much in the over three decades of violence.

Although, financial analysis of the project holds key place but it is clear-crystal that it is essential for development of the country, as the policymakers have hinted. As per financial analysis, the railway project is worth from the overall social perspective and economic outlook, given that the work was completed and security was improved. Since it is clear that railway is essential for development of Afghanistan’s nascent economy and to bring insurgency and extremism under control, the government should complete work on section of Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Tajikistan railway.

Furthermore, such projects need to be clearly defined in terms of scope and impacts so the general public would cooperate with the government to successfully execute the projects and maintain security. There are different projects which are of significance importance for the nation but people know little about these. Thus, these developmental schemes should be described because public play role of the stakeholder.

Moreover, the government should establish a locomotive factory to prepare for the present and future because the country direly needs engineers, railway operators, operations and freight managers. It is essential for easy and fast transportation of goods and passengers. The leaders shall also establish a railway department so it could prepare traffic forecast to quantify generated traffic and divert traffic from other transport modes. Cheap and convenient transportation would convince passengers and traders to rely on the railway.

Most importantly, the railway projects should be eco-friendly because Afghanistan suffered much from the climate change. Landslides, floods, avalanches and droughts are not a forgotten chapter. There is no denying to the fact that external and non-financial costs arise from global warming and pollution.

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