Turkmenistan-Afghanistan agreement ratified

A resolution “On the ratification of a Friendship and Cooperation Agreement between Turkmenistan and the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan” was unanimously adopted at a regular meeting of the Turkmen Parliament during the fourth assembly, an official Turkmen source said.

[…]

Also, Ashgabat’s initiative to construct a new railway line Atamurat-Ymamnazar (Turkmenistan)-Akina-Andkhoy (Islamic Republic of Afghanistan) is an example of two neighboring countries eventually becoming an important link in the Eurasian continent’s international transit system.

Source: Turkmenistan ratifies Friendship and Cooperation Agreement with Afghanistan, Trend News agency, Ashgabat, Turkmenistan, 2011-08-05

Paris conference discusses Afghan railways

A Ministry of Mines statement on the 4 July 2011 conference in Paris.

Conference on Afghan Railways development held in Paris

A comprehensive plan for building railways in Afghanistan based on economic criteria was welcomed at a special conference in Paris.

The Conference, organized by the Afghan and French governments, was attended by representative of the G8 group, international organizations such as the Asian Development Bank, World Bank, European Union, Pakistan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Kazakhstan, India.

The inaugural speech of French Minister of Transport Thierry Mariani, was followed by His Excellency Wahidullah Shahrani, the Afghan Minister of Mines, who presented the plan, designed to facilitate transport of goods between South Asia and Central Asia and revive the historic role of Afghanistan as the transport hub of the region.

Mr. Shahrani clarified National and Regional Resource Corridors Program drafted by the Ministries of Mines, Transport and Civil Aviation, and Public Works. The Program was warmly received by the French Minister of Transport and the participants.

Representative of G8 and international organizations expressed their willingness to consider giving financial and technical support to the proposals for the Mazar-i-sharif-Andkhoi, Kandahar-Chaman, Kabul-Torkham and Kabul-Mazar-i-sharif railways projects financially and technically, and emphasized the need for a clear organizational structure and railway management regime.

Railways are vital for Afghanistan’s development and the exploitation of Afghan mineral resources. Accordingly the comprehensive railway plan has emerged from coordination by the Ministry of Mines with other relevant organizations.

Mr Shahrani, in his dual role as the Minister of Mines and Head of the Infrastructure Cluster, was accompanied by Engineer Abdul Quddus Hamidi the Minister of Public Works, Dr. Daud Ali Najafi Acting Minister for Transport and Civil Aviation, and Mustafa Mastoor Deputy Minister of Finance.

Source: Ministry of Mines, 2011-07-09

Vivid evidence for brotherly assistance from neutral Turkmenistan

Afghanistan’s President Hamid Karzai made an official visit to Turkmenistan on 28 May 2011. He discussed the Atamurat to Andkhoy railway proposal with Turkmenistan’s President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov, and a “framework agreement” on its construction was signed.

A rather magnificently wordy report on the visit was published the following day by the official new agency “Turkmenistan: the golden age”:

President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov invited his Afghan counterpart to enter the Golden Hall where the one to one top level talks were held.
[…]
Along with natural wealth, including abundant energy resources, Turkmenistan situated on transport routes from north to south and from east to west had the profound potential for collaboration in the transit transport sector due to its geographical location. In this contest the Turkmen leader dwelt upon the aspects of bilateral cooperation on the construction of a railway line from Turkmenistan to Afghanistan. In this context President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov expressed belief that this railway would facilitate freight traffic in the Asian region and all over the world.
[…]
[Karzai noted that] Currently, the construction of a railway line that would connect our states was being negotiated.
[…]
After the ceremony of signing documents was concluded, the leaders of Turkmenistan and the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan entered the Bayram Khan Hall where they held a press conference.
[…]
Expressing profound gratitude to President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov for paying much attention to the aspects of intergovernmental cooperation, the distinguished guest put particular emphasis on the Resolution issued by the national leader Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov aimed at increasing electricity exports to Afghanistan and the initiative of the leader of the Turkmen state to build a railway line from Turkmenistan to Afghanistan.
[…]
After the talks with the participation of the government delegations were concluded the ceremony of signing the bilateral document took place in the Seljuk Khan Hall.

These included […] the Framework Agreement on the construction of the Atamurat-Ymamnazar (Turkmenistan)-Akina-Andhoi (the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan) between the Government of Turkmenistan and the Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan;
[…]
Upon concluding the official reception, the leaders of the two states bade farewell cordially to each other expressing satisfaction with the outcomes of the talks and exchanged the best wishes to the brotherly nations.

Source: Talks between President of Turkmenistan and President of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, State News Agency of Turkmenistan, 2011-05-29.

Here is a map I made for a previous posting on the project:

View Turkmenistan – Andkhoy railway plan in a larger map

Turkmenistan plans Andkhoy line

FM: Turkmenistan helps Afghanistan to integrate into world economic system

Turkmenistan is helping Afghanistan to integrate into the global system of economic relations by developing its transport and communications infrastructure, the Turkmen Foreign Ministry said.

The ministry added that Turkmenistan plans to construct a new railway on its territory along the border with Afghanistan. The railway could be further extended into Afghanistan to facilitate the country’s regional and interregional cooperation.

The two-kilometer “Serhetabat-Turgundi” railway line has operated for three years. The line was reconstructed by Turkmen specialists.

Turkmenistan has also made a proposal to build the “Atamurat-Imamnazar-Andkhoy” railway route, with a further extension through Afghanistan. The abovementioned infrastructure will increase the amount of available trans-border cargo flow and goods transport.

[More]

Source: Trend, 2010-12-07

Turkmenistan to fund Andkhoy line

Turkmenistan is to fund, survey, design and construct a 126 km railway to northern Afghanistan, Ahmad Shah Wahid, Financial & Administrative Deputy at Afghanistan’s Ministry of Public Works said in a 17 October 2010 interview with TOLOnews.1 This would be Turkmenistan’s second line to Afghanistan, after the Towraghondi line.

Starting from the existing 1520 mm Turkmen rail network at Atamurat (also written Atamyrat, previously known as Kerki) the proposed line will run to Aqina on the Afghan border, then run 36 km within Afghanistan to Andkhoy district in Faryab province. It is not clear whether 126 km is the total length, or the length of the section within Turkmenistan.


View Turkmenistan – Andkhoy railway plan in a larger map

Although the article refers to “Aqina harbor”, looking at Google Maps I suspect this is a mis-translation for a border crossing facility, which appears to be well away from any river – well away from anything, in fact.

The Turkmen frontier post is Kolodets Imam-Nazar (also Imamnazar etc), where new border facilities were formally opened on 13 August 2007 with assistance from the USA and United Nations.2

The railway project was discussed in July 2008 and again by various officials from the Afghan and Turkmen governments in August 2010, when ministers also talked about the railway which will connect the Afghanistan via Shabarghan, Aqina and Imamnazar to Turkmenistan.3 An extension from Andkhoy could connect with the planned Mazar-i-Sharif to Herat line at Shirbirghan (Shabarghan and variants).

According to the Ministry of Public Works the railway will boost trade, help to grow the Afghan economy and provide Afghanistan with access to the Caspian Sea and Europe.

However there are no timescales given for construction.

  1. Afghanistan to Build 36km Railway in the North, Tamim Shaheer, TOLOnews, 17 October 2010
  2. Imamnazar new post control was opened at the Turkmen-Afghan border, State News Agency of Turkmenistan (TDH) | 15 August 2007
  3. The Agreement of Support for Implementation of TAPI Project was Signed, Ministry of Mines, 30 August 2010