The railway extension from Aqina on the border with Turkmenmenistan to the northern Afghan town of Andkhoy was inaugurated with a ceremony on 14 January 2021. Afghanistan’s President Ghani and Turkmenistan’s President Berdimuhamedov took part via video link.
Interestingly, Berdimuhamedov said Turkmenistan and Afghanistan were implementing the construction of a 173 km line from Towraghondi to Herat. 1
Today #AFG & #TKM inaugurated three mega projects such as Railway line from #Aqina to #Andkhoi, Electrical Energy Project in direction of #Kerki – Andkhoi – Puli Khumri and the Fiber Optic Cable line in Aqina and Ankhoi. 1/7 pic.twitter.com/9kkDrDt5BG
— Embassy of Afghanistan in Turkmenistan (@AfghanistanInTM) January 14, 2021
— Kabul News (@KabulNews5) January 14, 2021
The Aqina – Andkhoy line is an extension of the 88 km line from Kerki (Atamyrat) in Turkmenistan to the Ymamnazar border crossing (85 km) and Afghanistan’s customs facilities at Aqina (3 km) which was opened on 28 November 2016.
The extension is generally reported to be 30 km long, including of 24 km of main line and 6 km of sidings at Andkhoy. The project required and various small bridges, level crossings and a parallel road. Construction was officially launched on July 26 2019, at the same time as expanded rail facilities at Aqina were inaugurated.
— Sulaiman Aryan (@Suliaman25) January 14, 2021
The Chairman of Türkmendemirýollary Agency and Head of Railroad route department of Afghanistan have reported on the readiness to put Akina – Andhoy railroad into operation.
It was noted that this railway would allow activating trade between Afghanistan and Turkmenistan. According to analysis made by railroad department of Afghanistan, it is expected that volume of cargo traffic would increase by 20 percent in the first year and by 50 percent in the second year of operation of the railway. The delivery of cargo will also be increased and new work places will be opened.
It is worth to mention that current construction is a part of major transport project initiated by President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov, which to connect the countries of the region with further entry to railway network of China.
Turkmenistan has built new railroad on Afghan territory not only at own expenses but also using its own personnel and material resources like engineers, workers, railroad construction equipment and cranes, construction materials, assembled rails and sleepers, etc.
In addition to laying the rails, reserve and side lines, container terminals and other auxiliary facilities have been built on 30-km route. All project works were made by the Türkmendemirýoltaslama Construction and Research Institute of the Türkmendemirýollary Agency.
Turkmen specialists have design and built disinfection barriers, which are to provide sanitary safety of international cargo traffic, which is very important on the background of the pandemic conditions in the world these days.
In addition, Turkmenistan and Afghanistan have started realization of another transport project – the construction of Turgundy – Herat railroad, which length is 173 kilometers. It is planned to build four railway stations, communication and announcement system and platform along this route.
Source: Events on occasion of the opening of international transport, energy and communication lines, State News Agency of Turkmenistan, 14 January 2021
The opening celebrations for the extension included the departure of the first train to Andkhoy, which was formed of 10 tank cars carrying fuel, seven wagons carrying mineral fertiliser and three wagons loaded with agricultural products.
President Ghani said the inauguration of the railway along with electric power and fibre optic links between the two countries was a ‘significant step towards further deepening relations and translating an important part of our regional connectivity vision into reality.’
He said it was ‘a matter of immense pride that Afghanistan is renewing its long-standing relations with Central Asian countries after more than 100 years of isolation. The bonds of friendship forged between Afghanistan and Turkmenistan are valuable for the two governments and nations.’
Ghani said ‘Afghanistan’s location as a roundabout that links Central Asia with south, east and west Asia as well as implementation of significant economic and infrastructural projects, including recently the Khaf – Herat railway, proves that our vision of connectivity is not an improbable dream but an undeniable reality’.
President Ashraf Ghani: The inauguration of the Aqeena-Andkhoy railway and other infrastructural projects between the two countries are significant steps towards further deepening these relations and translating an important part of our regional connectivity vision into reality. pic.twitter.com/yQ3xVskH4P
— ارگ (@ARG_AFG) January 14, 2021
At the end of the ceremony, ‘the Turkmen and Afghan railway workers who worked hard on the construction of the facility were presented with valuable gifts on behalf of the President of Turkmenistan.’2
Today, on the 14th of January 2021, the opening ceremony of 30 km long railway between Aqina and Andkhoy stations and the commissioning of the international fiber-optic communication system and transit flows from Ymamnazar (Turkmenistan) to Aqina (Afghanistan) and from Serhetabat (Turkmenistan) to Torghundi (Afghanistan), as well as the power transmission line from Turkmen city of Kerki to Afghan city of Sheberghan was held in participation of the Presidents of Turkmenistan and the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan.
After announcing the ceremony opened, the moderator of the event asked the President of Turkmenistan Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov and President of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan Mohammad Ashraf Ghani to make a speech. For this, a teleconference was established.
First, the President of Turkmenistan Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov addressed to the audience. His speech was listened by the participants of the event present in the “Rukhiyet” Palace of the Lebap region. The participants of the ceremony in Afghanistan, as well as in the Mary region observed the event via teleconference.
In his speech, the President of Turkmenistan said that “all three projects that have been completed in short time are united by a common meaning and goal – to give strong impulse and ensure long-term development of our countries, well-being and prosperity of Turkmen and Afghan people, assist expanded international cooperation, mutual understanding, political and social stability.” He also noted that the implementation of given projects was the result of multiyear close and constrictive Turkmen-Afghan cooperation.
Then, President of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan Mohammad Ashraf Ghani who was watching the ceremony in the Presidential Palace of Kabul addressed the audience. Warmly welcoming the participants, he noted that these events have special meaning for Afghanistan and his people. Speaking about the origins of the given projects, the head of Afghanistan highlighted their importance not only from the perspective of socio-economic reestablishment of the country, but also from the prospect of regional economic integration. The head of Afghanistan expressed gratitude to the leadership of Turkmenistan for fraternal support and care about the close neighbor. He noted that Turkmenistan unites not only the countries of the region, but also of the whole world. The participants of the event listened to the address of the President Ashraf Ghani through a teleconference.
Then, the heads of railway transport, energy and communication sectors of Turkmenistan and Afghanistan made speeches. They told about the outstanding work done on the part of Turkmenistan and Afghanistan for the implementation of current infrastructures and informed about the readiness to the commissioning of railway between Aqina and Andkhoy stations, international fiber-optic communication system and transit flows from Ymamnazar (Turkmenistan) to Aqina (Afghanistan) and from Serhetabat (Turkmenistan) to Torghundi (Afghanistan), as well as the power transmission line from Turkmen city of Kerki to Afghan city of Sheberghan.
Upon the completion of these speeches, the moderators of the ceremony asked the President of Turkmenistan Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov and the President of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan Mohammad Ashraf Ghani to give their blessings for the commissioning of the given facilities.
Thus, the participants of the ceremony saw through a teleconference how the railway carriage consisting of 20 loaded cars left from the Aqina station to Andkhoy city in festive setting.
Besides, the commissioning of the power transmission line from Kerki to Sheberghan took place through the use of special equipment. The participants of the event observed the transmission of electricity through the line that was shown on the screen by a technological imitation model.
Also, the participants of the ceremony watched the video presentation of the commissioning of the international fiber-optic communication system and transit flows from Ymamnazar (Turkmenistan) to Aqina (Afghanistan) and Serhetabat (Turkmenistan) to Torghundi (Afghanistan).
Upon the completion of the ceremony, gratitude was expressed to the Presidents of Turkmenistan and the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan for participation in the event.
Source: Presidents of Turkmenistan and Afghanistan took part in the commissioning of a number of joint infrastructures, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Turkmenistan, 14 January 2021
The event was attended by the heads of Turkmenistan and the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, members of governments, heads and representatives of a number of ministries and departments of the two countries, public organizations.
The Chairman of the Agency “Türkmendemirýollary” (Turkmen Railways) A. Atamuradov and the head of the Afghan Railway Authority Mohammad Yamma Shams informed the ceremony participants about the construction work.
In his speech, A. Atamuradov noted that the Aqina-Andkhoy railway branch connected with the railway system of Turkmenistan is the part of the Asian International Railway Transport Corridor and is intended to become one of the key links of the Lapis-Lazuli corridor. He spoke about the well-coordinated work of the Turkmen and Afghan railway workers who worked hard on the implementation of this project. It was noted that this and other routes initiated by the head of state contribute to building up the transport and transit potential of both Turkmenistan and the entire region, contributing to the strengthening of fruitful trade and economic cooperation.
Speaking at the opening ceremony, the head of the Afghan Railway Authority Mohammad Yamma Shams noted the high level of Turkmen-Afghan cooperation in the field of transport. Yamma Shams expressed gratitude to the President of Turkmenistan for assistance in the implementation of this project. He noted that the efficiency of this railway will continue to grow, creating new jobs and expanding the transport and transit potential of Afghanistan. Thus, the Aqina-Andkhoy railway line will open up new opportunities for the development of the Afghan economy and the revitalization of its small and medium-sized businesses.
During the ceremony, President of Turkmenistan Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov and President of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan Mohammad Ashraf Ghani gave their blessing for the commissioning of the Aqina-Andkhoy railway line.
The opening of this railway branch was marked by the solemn dispatch from the Aqina station towards the city of Andkhoy of a train consisting of 20 cars loaded with export products from Turkmenistan.
At the end of the ceremony, the Turkmen and Afghan railway workers who worked hard on the construction of the facility were presented with valuable gifts on behalf of the President of Turkmenistan.
It is important to note that the Memorandum of Understanding on the construction of the Aqina-Andkhoy railway between the “Türkmendemirýollary” Agency of the Ministry of Industry and Communication of Turkmenistan and the Afghan Railway Authority was signed following the results of high-level bilateral talks held in Ashgabat in February 2019.
Source: The Aqina-Andkhoy railway line was put into operation, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Turkmenistan, 14 January 2021
— RTA Dari (@rtadari) January 14, 2021
پروژه ساخت راه آهن #آقینه_اندخوی تکمیل شده و به بهرهبرداری سپرده میشود. احداث این راه گام مهم در راستای ایجاد شبکه داخلی خط آهن کشور و افزایش انتقالات با #ترکمنستان و سپس با کشورهای منطقه خواهد شد. pic.twitter.com/En53XNGFmN
— RTA Dari (@rtadari) January 12, 2021
- The presidents of Turkmenistan and Afghanistan opened new partnership streams, State News Agency of Turkmenistan, 14 January 2021 ↩
- The Aqina-Andkhoy railway line was put into operation, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Turkmenistan. ↩