$8 Billion Trans-Afghan Railway to Connect Central Asia with Afghanistan and Pakistan
Uzbekistan will connect the landlocked Central Asian countries with Afghanistan and Pakistan by connecting the Uzbek rail network with Pakistan Railways. The route will pass through Termiz in Uzbekistan, Mazar-i-Sharif, and Logar in Afghanistan and end in Pakistan through the Kharlachi border crossing in Kurram.
A trilateral working group from the respective countries will sign a joint protocol for the Uzbekistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan (UAP) railways project in Islamabad. This ambitious project, 80 tunnels of 148 km, which would be fully electric will open up international trade routes and boost regional connectivity. It will enhance regional and bilateral trade and provide better people-to-people connections to the entire region.
In 2022, the three countries signed a roadmap strategic plan to construct a new 573 km Trans-Afghan railway that would connect Central Asia with ports on the Arabian Sea. It will support passenger and freight services, improve the region’s economy and connectivity, particularly for Afghanistan and Uzbekistan.
Ismatulla Irgashev, Uzbekistan’s special representative for Afghanistan, had said in November 2022 that for political and economic reforms to be successful in the country, there needs to be peace in the region, hence the importance of Afghanistan in Uzbek foreign policy. He highlighted that Uzbekistan has been trying to direct the attention of the international community to the situation in this country. They noted that without massive projects of this scale and magnitude, rebuilding Afghanistan will not be possible given the full degradation of the Afghan economy.
The 760 km railroad will reduce delivery times of cargo between Uzbekistan and Pakistan by about five days. It will also reduce the cost of goods transport by about 40 percent. The project of the century is expected to be completed by 2027.