TASHKENT: In a significant development step toward regional connectivity, Uzbekistan and Afghanistan are intensifying efforts to expedite the implementation of the Pakistan-Uzbekistan-Afghanistan railway construction project.
The discussion gained traction following a productive meeting between Uzbek Minister of Transport Ilkhom Makhkamov and Afghanistan’s Minister of Transport and Civil Aviation, Hamidullo Ohunzoda.
The bilateral talks focused on advancing cooperation in the transport and logistics sector, with specific attention to the development of the Pakistan-Uzbekistan-Afghanistan corridor. Crucial aspects such as fees and charges for road transportation, transit regulations, and bilateral transportation through Afghanistan were deliberated.
Pakistan-Uzbekistan-Afghanistan Railway Project
Notably, the ministers explored the possibility of introducing tariff benefits for railway transportation to bolster the viability of the corridor.
The roadmap for the construction of the Termez-Mazar-I-Sharif-Kabul-Peshawar railway, signed by the administrations of Uzbekistan, Afghanistan, and Pakistan in February 2021, serves as a blueprint for this transformative project.
With a preliminary cost estimated at around $5 billion, the new transport corridor aims to have a transit potential of up to 20 million tons of cargo. Once operational, it is expected to seamlessly connect Europe, Russia, Uzbekistan, Afghanistan, Pakistan, India, and extend further to the states of Southeast Asia, fostering economic integration and trade facilitation across the region.