KABUL: Uzbekistan has pledged to start work on the railway that connects Tashkent to Afghanistan and Islamabad early next year, according to the Taliban.
The Ministry of Finance said that the acting foreign minister, Amir Khan Muttaqi, met with Uzbekistan’s minister for transport, Makhkamov Ilkhom, on the sidelines of the OIC summit in Islamabad. According to the ministry, Tashkent promised to train some Afghan personnel for technical work on the railway.
The railway will connect South Asian nations to Central Asia.
The length of the railway between Kabul and Peshawar is estimated to be around 573 km. The construction will cost $4.8 billion.
“This is a big project. Every country has its role in it. Every country will allocate funds for its construction. The technical affairs have yet to be finalized. A delegation will soon visit Uzbekistan to discuss the technical issues,” said Ahmad Wail Haqmal, a spokesman for the Ministry of Finance.
“It was pledged that the project will begin in the spring of the coming year,” said Inamullah Samangani, deputy spokesman for the Islamic Emirate.
“They (relevant countries) are seeking to connect Central Asia to South Asia via the railway crossing Afghanistan,” said Bakht Rahman Sharafat, deputy minister of public works.
Some economists said that the connection between Central Asia and South Asia via Afghanistan would benefit the country.
“This is very important and valuable for economic progress and the facilitation of imports and exports,” said Abdul Naseer Rishtia, an economist.