Kabul, Afghanistan – Afghanistan Railway Authority (ARA) announced the construction of Khawaf-Herat Railway will be completed within two weeks, according to reports.
The railway line links Khaf in the north-eastern Iranian province of Khorasan Razavi to Herat, the center of Herat Province of Afghanistan.
According to a ARA spokesman Abdul Sami Durani, its delegation will visit Iran in nearing future to discuss the start of the transportation of commodities to Iran, which has long been awaited by both parties to boost regional trade and transit.
“A delegation is expected to travel to Iran in the coming days and will discuss certain issues there, which includes cooperation on the railway, the start of transportation, and products,” he siad, as TOLOnews quoted.
Meanwhile, the Afghanistan Chamber of Industry and Mines called the inauguration of Khawaf-Herat Railway important for the Afghan trade, saying that transportation via this railway will help the prices of commodities to decrease.
It will help “the transportation of commodities and reduction of prices, particularly Afghanistan’s mineral exports to Iran,” said Sakhi Ahmad Paiman, deputy head of the ACIM.
Afghanistan currently has three active railway lines for the transfer of goods, which includes Hairatan, Aqina and Torghondi railway lines.
On March 8, Abbas Khatibi, the deputy head of Iran’s Construction and Development of Transportation Infrastructures Company, said that negotiations were underway to construct the 225-kilometer cross-border Khaf-Herat railway project halted following the Taliban takeover of the country.
“This project will somehow revive the Silk Road. It can connect the East to the West and play an important role in reducing export and transit costs,” the Iranian official said, as Caspian News quoted.
The implementation of the Khaf-Herat railway project started in 2007, while the overall costs for its completion reached $75 million as of 2022. In December 2020, the presidents of Iran and Afghanistan inaugurated the 225-kilometers-long railway line.
Once completed, the railway would help transport six million tons of goods and up to a million passengers annually, running along the East-West transit corridor and connecting China to Turkey and Europe via Uzbekistan, Afghanistan, and Iran, according to the report.
The project is part of a proposed $2 billion worth Five Nations Railway Corridor (FNRC), which would run through Iran, Afghanistan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, and China, for an estimated 2,000 km (1,242 miles).
According to the project, to reach China, the railway line should run from Herat to the Afghan-Tajik border and, after crossing Tajikistan, pass through Kyrgyzstan, where it will reach the Chinese Xinjiang province.