Afghanistan Iran jointly inaugurate first Afghan-Iran railway line

In a major boost for regional connectivity and trade, Afghan President Ashraf Ghani and Iranian President Hassan Rouhani on Thursday jointly inaugurated (virtually) the first railway link connecting western Afghanistan to eastern Iran

Dec 10, 2020
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In a major boost for regional connectivity and trade, Afghan President Ashraf Ghani and Iranian President Hassan Rouhani on Thursday jointly inaugurated (virtually) the first railway link connecting western Afghanistan to eastern Iran. 

The 130 km-long Herat-Khaf railway link is a joint connectivity project undertaken by Afghanistan and Iran to boost regional trade between the two nations - 60 km of the rail line lies in Afghanistan while 70 km is in Iran. 

Speaking at the event, Afghan President Ghani said both leaders wanted to attend the inauguration physically but due to prevailing COVID conditions it wasn’t possible. 

Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif on Wednesday hailed the project as “a gateway that will boost trade and people to people exchanges.” He tweeted, “The Khaf-Herat railway’s significance is not only for Iran and Afghanistan but [also] for the greater region...It will also contribute to regional stability and development.” 
 
The rail line is expected to provide an alternative to Afghanistan’s troubled dependency on Pakistan for transit route to access international markets. Afghan exports can now access Turkey and European markets through the rail line and Iranian ports in the Persian Gulf.

Last week, a train carrying 5oo metric tons of cement from Iran reached Herat, TOLOnews reported.

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