17:45 / 30.03.2022
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Uzbekistan refutes rumors about start of construction of the Trans-Afghan railway

Some media outlets have reported that Uzbekistan has begun construction of a Trans-Afghan railway. Kun.uz contacted the Ministry of Transport to clarify the reports. According to the ministry, discussions on the issue are ongoing, but the construction of the railway has not yet begun.

Photo: Kun.uz

A number of media outlets and social media channels reported the start of construction, citing Pakistan’s The News International.

“Last week, Uzbekistan began construction of the Trans-Afghan railway. The $5 billion highway project will connect Central Asia with Pakistani ports. In this regard, a meeting of Uzbek-Afghan-Pakistani delegations was held in Termez to discuss cooperation in the field of transport and logistics,” UzA reported referring to The News International.

Navruz Ashurmatov, head of the Transport Ministry’s information service, told Kun.uz that the report was unfounded. According to him, discussion meetings with representatives of Uzbekistan, Afghanistan and Pakistan were held in Termez on March 26-27. It focused on cooperation in the field of transport and logistics, including the problems arising in the process of international road transport in Uzbekistan, Afghanistan and Pakistan and their solutions.

“During the talks, representatives of all three countries discussed how the construction of the Trans-Afghan railway will benefit the economies of Uzbekistan, Afghanistan and Pakistan. Representatives of Afghanistan and Pakistan also made various presentations. However, this does not mean that Uzbekistan has started construction of the Trans-Afghan railway,” Navruz Ashurmatov said.

He added that the allegations in the report and the information that $5 billion will be spent on the construction of the Trans-Afghan railway are not true.

“Uzbekistan is the initiator of the construction of the Trans-Afghan railway. The construction of this railway will significantly accelerate the development of the Uzbek economy. Therefore, the Uzbek side is holding intensive talks with Afghanistan and Pakistan on the construction of this railway. Maps of railway crossings, as well as Pakistani railways are a bit narrower than ours, so the width of the Trans-Afghan railway will be discussed,” the head of the information service of the Ministry of Transport said.

It should be recalled that on February 2, 2021, in Tashkent, following high-level talks between Uzbekistan, Afghanistan and Pakistan, a joint action plan (“Roadmap”) for the construction of the Mazar-i-Sharif-Kabul-Peshawar railway was adopted.

Reportedly, it is planned to attract $4.8 billion for the construction of the railway, which will be about 600 km long.

For information, in December 2021, within the framework of the summit of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation in Islamabad, a meeting was held between the Minister of Transport of Uzbekistan Ilkhom Makhkamov and the Acting FM of the Taliban Amir Khan Muttaqi.

According to The News International, in the spring of 2022, the Uzbek side will begin construction of the Termez-Mazar-e-Sharif-Kabul-Peshawar railway and train Afghan personnel for technical work. This information has not been officially confirmed yet by Uzbekistan.

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