Further fate of Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Tajikistan railway to be decided in Dushanbe
16 February 2014
The issue of construction of the Afghan segment of a planned regional rail link that will connect Turkmenistan, Afghanistan and Tajikistan is expected to be discussed in Dushanbe next month
“Representatives of relevant agencies of Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Afghanistan will gather in Dushanbe in March and they will discuss the routing of the Afghan segment of this railway,” Tajik Minister of Transport Khairullo Asozoda told journalists in Dushanbe on February 13.
“We now have four versions of the route for the Afghan segment,” Asozoda noted.
We will recall that ex-head of Tajik Railways (Tajik state railway company), Amonullo Hukumatullo, told journalists in Dushanbe in late January that Tajikistan and Afghanistan have agreed on the routing of the Afghan segment of the planned Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Tajikistan railway.
“The Tajik side has proposed a little more than 200-kilometer route from Kelif in Afghanistan to the Khoshadi station in the Shahritous district of Tajikistan’s Khatlon province and Afghanistan has accepted this proposals,” Hukumatullo told journalists on January 29, noting that Afghanistan had initially proposed the route from Kelif to Sherkhan Bandar that would be longer and costlier for Tajik shippers.
On January 30, Turkmen Foreign Ministry released a statement, which noted that “in accordance with international norms, multilateral projects are coordinated by all participating parties on the basis of mutual respect and equality. The statement of Tajik official about coordination of the segment of the railway reaching the Turkmen-Afghan border without participation of Turkmenistan is tendentious and absolutely unacceptable to the Turkmen side.”
We will recall that a memorandum of understanding (MoU) for construction of the rail link connecting the three countries was signed during a trilateral meeting of the presidents of Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Afghanistan that took place in the Turkmen capital Ashgabat on March 20, 2013.
The 400-kilometer railroad is expected to connect the Afghan town of Akina-Andkhoy to Atamurat-Ymamnazar in Turkmenistan and Panj in Tajikistan. Turkmen workers are also to build the Afghan section of the railway.
The presidents of Afghanistan, Tajikistan, and Turkmenistan officially inaugurated the construction of the railway connecting the three nations on June 5, 2013. Presidents Hamid Karzai, Emomali Rahmon and Gurbanguly Berdymukhammedov participated in the ceremony that took place in Turkmenistan's northeastern province of Lebap. They buried a time capsule with a message to future generations under the first section of the railway line near the town of Atamyrat.