Staunton, July 28 – The leaders of Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan and Pakistan say they hope to build a 450-kilometer Trans-Afghan railway over the next five years at a cost of 4.6 billion US dollars. They are beginning exploratory work now with the support of Kabul and hope to open a tender for international support.
Uzbekistan and Pakistan are the leaders in this effort, but Kazakhstan President Kassym-Zhomart Tokayev says he fully backs the plan; and all those involved including Afghanistan hope that they can get financial backing from the Russian Federation and China (trtrussian.com/novosti/v-uzbekistane-rasskazali-o-stroitelstve-kabulskogo-koridora-9672936 and podrobno.uz/cat/obchestvo/uzbekistan-prezentoval-detali-proekta-stroitelstva-kabulskogo-zheleznodorozhnogo-koridora-/).
Were the line to be built, it would significantly shorten the time and expense of shipping between Central Asia and the Indian Ocean as well as provide benefits for Afghans and others living along its route. But both topographic difficulties and the instability in Afghanistan mean that realizing this ambitious plan will not be easy even if Kabul does support it.