Friday, August 27, 2010

Afghanistan plans to join the Asian rail network

Good news: Afghanistan has developed a national rail plan based on the lines that are already being built and the international support that those lines have already received. The Asian Development Bank is financing most of the cost of a freight line from Hayratan, Uzbekistan to Mazar-i-Sherif in northern Afghanistan.

There are plans to extend this line to a line being built by Iran to the Afghan border near Herat. There might be a branch to Turkmenistan. Northern Afghanistan is relatively stable, so this line is realistic.

In addition, the Chinese may finance a line from Mazar-i-Sherif to Kabul that would continue on to Jalalabad and the border with Pakistan. This line would have to go through area where there is fighting which reduces the likelihood of its ever being built. However, if the Chinese provide grants )like for the line that is being built to Mazar-i-Sherif) construction might inject enough money into the local economy to create stability.

(This post was based on several articles from the Railway Gazette International.)