By: Shukria Kohistani
Afghanistan ministry of transportation has informed of construction 43km railway in Herat. An agreement on construction of the fourth phase of the Khawaf-Herat railway track was signed at the Presidential Palace in Kabul last week.
The agreement was signed between minister of transportation and civil aviation Yama Shams and Kazakhstan INKON Company in the presence of President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani.
The forth-phase of the Khawaf-Herat railway truck is 43 kilometre long and passes through Ghorian, Zanjabel and Zendahan districts of Heart province that border Iran. The project would end in 16 months and would cost $5.58 million dollars to be provided by the Afghan government.
The Khawaf-Herat railway track is 225 kilometres long and is constructed on the Afghan and Iranian soil. Two phases of the track which is 76 kilometers long has been already constructed from Iran’s Khawaf to Shamtegh border area and is ready for service. The 62 kilometer track from Shamtegh to the border of Afghanistan has been 95 percent completed.
Signing of the agreement is considered as a step towards strengthening economic cooperation in the region, which will result in regional convergence in the long-term from perspective of economic, political and security. Railway track is considered as the most significant tools for transportation in the modern world; therefore, it can be said that construction of railway track in Afghanistan will bring unprecedented changes in transportation system in the country as it helps improve economic relations and increases exports and imports.
Afghan economists and experts believe that if routes to countries in the region are connected through railway, they will help improve trade between Afghanistan and neighboring countries in the region.
“Unfortunately Afghanistan is back in having access to railway track for transiting its products to neighboring countries due to wrong polices of the previous governments, but if now the country’s all routes are connected to neighboring countries through railway track, trade will expand between Afghanistan and countries in the region,” said Ustad Saifuddin Saihoon, an Afghan economist.
He considered construction of railway track as step towards economic cooperation and expansion of trade between Afghanistan and regional countries, adding that from perspective of economic, political and security it would result in regional convergence in the long-term.
It is worth mentioning that there is no other way for regional countries except making use of opportunities for exchanging goods and trade and addressing challenges they are facing with in terms of trade in the region.
As Afghanistan, Iran, Pakistan and India are countries that are facing with increasing poverty, unemployment and other challenges, construction of such railway track can help expand trade between regional countries and boost economy in the long-term. Meanwhile, if the respective countries make use of each other’s capacities and potentials for expansion of trade and economic development in the region, political and security tensions and other social challenges will definitely reduce and will help result in regional convergence.