The Kabul Times.
Economic Social

Herat to become railroad cross

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By: Shukria Kohistani

HERAT: The House of People has recently approved a 65 million euro, the long term Italian loan to be used in the budget allocated for construction of the first phase of the fourth part of Khawaf-Herat.
The contract on construction of the fourth part of the railroad has been signed with a Kazakh INKON KZ company with the cost of $ 58,5million according to reports.
Local authorities of the western province of Herat believe exploitation of the Khawaf-Herat railroad, which can connect the province with the Iranian railway network and two key Chabahar and Bandar Abbas ports, is the old desire of the people. However, construction of the third phase of the railway, according to the memorandum of understanding signed between Afghanistan and Iran, has been said to be undertaken by Iran, which has been suspended for up to 10 years.
The main reason behind the delay was the recent economic changes in Iran and insecurity in Afghanistan.
Herat local officials reported up to 90 percent development in the work of third part of the railroad and commencement of technical works and study on the two remaining parts of the fourth segments of the railway.
The Khawaf-Herat railroad has been said to extended with a length of 225 kilometers between Afghanistan and Iran, with two parts of them with a length of up to 76 kilometers have already been completed.
The third segment of the railroad, with the length of 52 kilometers has been extended from Iran to Ghorian district of Herat province.
Iran has pledged to construct three segments of the railway by using its gratitude assistances, while Italia has provided long-term assistances to fund the first phase of the fourth segment of the project.
Jailani Farhad, Herat provincial governor spokesman told media that the exploitation of the Khawaf-Herat would provide much facilities for the Afghan traders to take their merchandises easily to the Iranian Chabahar and Bandar Abbas Ports and help Herat to change into the railway crossroad of Afghanistan.
Zabihullah Taheri, head of Herat Railway said that according to the long term program of the government of Afghanistan, the Herat-Torghundi and the northern railways would connect to the country’s south and the Khawaf-Herat railway in Herat.
Also, the Pakistani railway network would connect to the central Asian countries, through Afghanistan, after expansion of the country’s national railway network.
Using railway according to the officials, would provide more facilities in transferring goods with low costs, than tracks and reduce commutation of the passengers convoys in the province’s highways.
Meantime the related organs are assuring of firm security along the highways and the areas, where the project is being implemented.

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