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February 4, 2021

Pakistan, Afghanistan, Uzbekistan ink roadmap for rail link

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February 4, 2021

KABUL: Afghanistan, Uzbekistan, and Pakistan inked a roadmap for a landmark rail link aimed at bolstering trade ties between Central and South Asia.

The signing ceremony for the multi-billion-dollar project took place in Tashkent, and attended by senior officials from the three countries. Speaking on the occasion, Uzbekistan's deputy prime minister Sardor Umurzakov said peace and stability in Afghanistan will lead to development, economic growth and increased regional cooperation.

Afghan Foreign Minister Mohammad Haneef Atmar thanked the host country for playing its leading role in the pursuit of the landmark project. Last month, Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan said his country’s seaports provided a great opportunity to Central Asian states for access to the Indian Ocean.

The proposed 573 km railway track is set to connect Uzbekistan’s capital Tashkent via Afghan capital Kabul with Pakistan’s northern city of Peshawar. The three countries signed a joint request last month seeking a $4.8 billion loan from international financial institutions for the Trans-Afghan railway project.

Last month, Afghanistan and Turkmenistan inaugurated three major energy and connectivity projects aimed at strengthening bilateral and regional ties. The three projects included a power transmission project, a fiber optic line for high speed internet, and a railway line between the two neighbors.