An interesting article about the Uzbekistan – Hayratan – Mazar-i-Sharif railway from the Fayetteville Observer: U.S. works to get Afghans on track with rail network, Drew Brooks, Fay Observer, 2 May 2014.
The article is well worth a read. Some highlights:
- About 4 600 wagons a month use the line between the border and Mazar-e-Sharif.
- More than 90% of the fuel used by coalition forces enters Afghanistan by rail through Hayratan.
- The railway from Camp Marmal near Mazar-i-Sharif is a “secondary outlet” for military equipment leaving for ports in Latvia or Estonia.
- The line is a “major thoroughfare” for coalition military equipment being shipped to Germany or France, but has only carried about 600 to 700 US containers
- The line is operated by Uzbekistan as part of a bilateral agreement. The Uzbek government – not Afghanistan – collects money from the imports.
- Afghanistan is expected to eventually take control of the line.
- Afghanistan has already assumed responsibility for some tasks and purchased its first two locomotives [does anyone know what they are?].
- The international co-operation that helped create the line is seen as integral to the development of a larger network.
- “This is the safest place in all of Afghanistan.”
There are also a couple of photos, including a good aerial view of the area around the Friendship Bridge.
“The idea of a transportation network is a new idea for them,” Hakey said before motioning to a small wooden tabletop. “Back home, you have a lot of interest groups, there are rail fans. Here, you could probably lay out all the photos of Afghan rail on this table.”