Islamabad, 19 July 2023 (TDI): Pakistan, Uzbekistan and Afghanistan signed an MOU on July 18, 2023, to connect the railway networks of Uzbekistan and Pakistan through Afghanistan.

The total length of the proposed Trans-Afghan railroad is 760km. As per estimates, the construction of this new railway line is expected to be completed by the end of the year 2027.

According to the reports, high-ranking railway officials from Pakistan, Uzbekistan and Afghanistan attended the signing ceremony in Islamabad to formally approve the joint protocol for the Trans-Afghan railway project.

Syed Mazhar Ali Shah, Chairman of Pakistan Railways, headed the Pakistani delegation at the signing ceremony. Pakistan’s Finance Minister Ishaq Dar and Railway Minister Saad Rafiq were also present during the ceremony.

The Afghan team was led by Alhaj Bakhtulrehman Sharaft, Director General of the Afghanistan Railway Authority.

Davron Dekhkanov, Head of the Transport Department in Uzbekistan’s Ministry of Investment, Industry and Trade, represented Uzbekistan.

The joint protocol is seen as a significant step forward in improving railway connectivity between the three countries.

Also Read: Pakistan and Uzbekistan discuss economic ties and Afghanistan

Pakistan’s Railway Minister Khawaja Saad Rafique stated on Twitter that the Trans-Afghan railway project will construct a new rail connection from Pakistan’s Kurram district border to Termez city of Uzbekistan, running through Afghanistan via Mazar-i-Sharif and Logar.

He also mentioned that this new railway line will link Pakistan’s rail network to Central Asia by connecting with Uzbekistan’s existing rail infrastructure.

The project would not only enable regional, transit and bilateral trade between the participating countries, it will also improve people-to-people connections across the region. Additionally, it will support both passenger and freight services.