The Government of Iran, also called Persia, has been trying to reach an agreeing mid-point with the Taliban, also referred to as the Taliban Islamic Movement or Islamic Movement of Taliban, to resume construction of the Khaf-Herat Railway, a 225km-long cross-border railway between Iran and Afghanistan, linking eastern Iran to western Afghanistan.
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The project was inaugurated by Iran and Afghanistan in December 2020. However, due to the political developments and Taliban takeover in Afghanistan, the construction and thus, completion of the railway was stalled.
Iran’s Construction and Development Of Transportation Infrastructures Company deputy, Abbas Khatibi, said that negotiations are still underway for the resuming of works on the Khaf-Herat Railway.
An insight into the Khaf-Herat Railway Project
The Khaf-Herat Railway Project is under the management of the Afghanistan Railway Authority and the Railways of the Islamic Republic of Iran (RAI), and it includes four sections. Two of the four sections are located in Iran and two of the remaining sections are located in Afghanistan.
The first three of the sections span a combined length of 140km. Important to note is that the first two sections extend from the city of Khaf down to the border in Khorasan Razavi province that is located in Iran. The overall investment cost of these first three sections of the Khaf-Herat Railway is approximately US$ 665M.
If the talks are successful, an additional 85 kilometers of the railway will be added. This is set to run from Rozanak, connecting Afghanistan’s third-largest city. When completed, the Khaf-Herat Railway will play a major role in the transportation of six million tons of goods and well over one million passengers annually.
It’ll run along the East-West transit corridor, enabling a connection from China to Turkey and Europe via Uzbekistan, Iran, and Afghanistan. The railway will also contribute to reduced shipping costs and traffic at the border.