Pakistan, Uzbekistan and Afghanistan sign joint agreement and finalize route of inter-regional railway project

Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Uzbekistan signed a joint protocol in Islamabad on July 18 evening to establish a rail link.

This rail connectivity would help connect Pakistan with Central Asia and Russia via Termez city in southern Uzbekistan, officials said on Tuesday, hailing the development as a “game changer” for the region. 

Route finalized

he Route of the Uzbekistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan rail link was finalized on July 17 to facilitate regional transit and bilateral trade among the participating countries.

The Joint Working Group (JWG) on the project finalized the joint protocol in its meeting at the railways ministry. The joint protocol will be signed at a ceremony in Islamabad on Tuesday (today).

The rail route will pass through Termez, Mazar-i-Sharif and Logar in Afghanistan, and extend to the Kharlachi border crossing in Pakistan’s northwestern Kurram tribal district.

The primary goal of the tri-nation initiative, known as the Uzbekistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan (UAP) railway project, is to create a rail connection that joins Uzbekistan Railways with Pakistan Railways, passing through Afghanistan. This railway link will traverse the path from Termez to Mazar-e-Sharif, Logar, and Kharlachi and is designed to cater to both passenger and freight services.

The Pakistan delegation was headed by Syed Mazhar Ali Shah, the Chairman of Pakistan Railways. On the other hand, the Afghan delegation was led by Alhaj Bakhtulrehman Sharaft, the Director General of the Afghanistan Railways Authority. Representing the Uzbek side was Davron Dekhkanov, who holds the position of head of the Transport Department of the Ministry of Investment, Industry, and Trade.

During the meeting, the parties reached a consensus on a comprehensive road map concerning technical aspects, sources of financing, and other crucial elements essential for the project’s prompt execution. The participants commended the expertise and professionalism demonstrated by the three railway experts involved in the discussions.

Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Uzbekistan sign joint agreement for rail link. (Image Credit: Islamabad Scene)

Uzbekistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan (UAP) railway project

The project’s significance lies not only in promoting regional and transit trade but also in fostering bilateral trade between the countries involved. Additionally, it will enhance connectivity and facilitate easier movement of people across the entire region.

According to Uzbekistan’s estimates, the 760km railroad is projected to significantly decrease cargo delivery times between Uzbekistan and Pakistan by approximately five days. Additionally, the transportation costs for goods are expected to decrease by a minimum of 40 percent. The completion of the project is anticipated by the end of 2027, and by the year 2030, the trains will have the capacity to transport up to 15 million tons of goods annually.

Trans Afghan Railway

The three nations have successfully agreed by signing a strategic roadmap, outlining their plan to build a 573km Trans-Afghan railway. This railway will serve as a vital link connecting Central Asia with ports along the Arabian Sea. As part of the agreement, the countries will conduct a collaborative expedition to survey the route and assess its terrain. A preliminary feasibility study for the project will be conducted to lay the groundwork for its successful implementation.

Sana Jamal
Storyteller. Avid Reader. Learner to the core.

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