Iran, Afghanistan railways to link within next two weeks: Official
An Iranian transportation ministry official says a railway linking the country to neighboring Afghanistan will soon become operational.
Abbas Khatibi told the official IRNA news agency on Wednesday that the new railway links the eastern Iranian city of Khaf to Rowzanak, a small town near the Afghan city of Herat.
“The government has ... prioritized the expansion of transit corridors and links to the neighbors,” said Khatibi.
Afghanistan has no active railway system beyond Herat. The country is reportedly using Italian contractors to build the remaining link between Rowzanak and Herat.
The entire Khaf-Herat railway is 218 kilometers and it will be capable of transferring 1.7 million metric tons of cargoes per year.
The announcement on opening the cross-border railway comes a day after Iranian authorities ordered accelerated track-laying for Chabahar-Zahedan railway. The project is key to Iran's future plans for boosting trade between the Indian Ocean and Afghanistan and landlocked countries in Central Asia.
Afghanistan is currently using newly-created port facilities in Chabahar on the Sea of Oman for trade with India. Kabul hopes the railway link from Chabahar to Zahedan, which is located nearly 30 kilometers from the Afghan border, could trigger a major boom in economic activity in the landlocked country.
The railway to Afghanistan would increase the number of cross-border railways between Iran and its neighbors to six.
Works are underway to finish a key route linking the southwestern border city of Shalamcheh to the Iraqi rail network in the city of Basra.
Iran has also signed an agreement with Azerbaijan to join the freight railway routes between the two countries.
Source: Press TV