Railway supplies Mazar-i-Sharif airport

“An Afghan train worker explains the workings of a conductor board to the Afghan Minister of Finance in Hairaten, Afghanistan Dec. 6. The new train track is more than 75 kms long and provides hundereds of jobs to local Afghans.” (Photo by Army Sgt. Michael Reinsch, IJC Public Affairs)

A couple of ISAF stories via the US DVIDS website. The first one seems to come in two versions, one calling the railway “recently constructed” and attributing the funding to “BMZ, a German international assistance organization and Uzbekistan contractors.” The other verison says “under construction” and correctly attributes the funding to ADB, so I’ll quote that one:

New railroad increases trade in Afghanistan

KABUL, Afghanistan – A railroad, under construction from the border of Uzbekistan to just beyond Mazar-e-Sharif [My understanding was that it stops short of the city?] in northern Afghanistan, is expected to see an increase in utilization by several organizations and traders upon its completion.

Last week, Afghan officials, international aid representatives and International Security Assistance Forces visited Hairaten to look at the railroad along the border-crossing to ensure that the railroad is being used and implemented to benefit the people of the area.

“Hairaten is the only border-crossing with a railroad in Afghanistan,” said Kerry A. Powell, director, ISAF Joint Command Commanders Emergency Response Program. [what about Towraghondi?] “It does facilitate and it does allow some level of competition because they have another built up border other than the one to Pakistan; it gives them options.”

The track is more than 46 miles (75 kilometers) long and stretches from the bridge connecting Uzbekistan to Afghanistan through Hairaten to Mazar-e Sharif. It cost more than $170 million to build the track, which was largely funded by the Asian Development Bank.

“These kinds of projects bring regional development to Afghanistan,” said Johan Vosloo, project security manager. “More trade and more activity will be brought across the border. With future developments, maybe an expansion of development to the east and west will happen.”

The track will also be used to transport construction material to several major projects in and around Mazar-e Sharif, including the Mazar-e Sharif International Airport.

There are plans to continue the rail system to Herat and to eastern Afghanistan. The track and stations employ hundreds of Afghans to operate it and keep it secure.
Source: ISAF Joint Command, 2010-12-09

Also of interest:

New northern international airport to boost Afghan economy

KABUL, Afghanistan – A new international airport in Mazar-e Sharif is scheduled to be complete in January 2012 and will assist with trade and transporting goods throughout Afghanistan.

More than 300,000 people live in the vicinity of Mazar-e Sharif and people will reap the benefits of being able to transport their goods throughout the country.

“It is an economic center for Afghanistan,” said Thomas Herzberg, Kreditanstalt für Wiederaufbau Entwicklungsbank representative and project coordinator. “This airport is a great way of increasing economic trade for the Afghan people. From north to east Afghanistan, it is the center point for more than four million people.”

Currently, the airport is host to more than 100,000 passengers per year and is projected to host more than 400,000 after the construction is complete.

Construction of the airport is employing hundreds of local Afghans to lay foundation, construct more than five buildings and maintain the airport. A new terminal, repairs to the old terminal, a security building and a fire response building are some of the projected projects.

The airport is designed not only for passengers, but also to work in conjunction with the new rail system located a couple of miles away, that was recently built to support economic growth. The new railway is bringing in construction supplies to the airport.

“The airport, together with the rail way station, will bring a real economic boost to Mazar-e-Sharif,” Herzberg said. “All around the airport people can see that trade centers are building up. This just goes to show what kind of positive impact this has on northern Afghanistan.”

The decision to build the airport was made in 2008 and is part of a development project to bring five international airports to Afghanistan.

Source: ISAF Joint Command, 2010-12-09

This is the first suggestion of a station I’ve seen, unless it means a freight facility and has got lost in translation. How long will it be before Ryanair advertises flights to “Tashkent (Mazar-i-Sharif) airport”…

“A train waits to move on the new train track between the Afghanistan border and Mazar-e-Sharif Dec. 6.”

“A train rests on the new track built from the border of Uzbekistan to just beyond Mazar-e-Sharif, Afghanistan Dec. 5. The new track is more than 75 kms long and provides Afghan traders the means of importing and exporting goods.”
(Photos by Army Sgt. Michael Reinsch, IJC Public Affairs)

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