Iran’s Spending Spree in Afghanistan

A 20 May 2009 article from Time looks at Iran’s role in Afghanistan, including the Herat railway.

Some locals jokingly call Herat the “Dubai of Afghanistan.” The nickname is a stretch, but the mini-boom taking place in this commercial capital is borne out by 24-hour electricity and pothole-free streets where people wander without fear of the random violence that afflicts other urban centers in the country. Who gets the credit? Much of it goes to Iran, which lies less than a hundred miles to the west and is moving closer.

After completing a highway from its desert border, the Islamic Republic next door bankrolled an extension linking Herat city to Afghanistan’s remote northern provinces. Later this year, a host of Iranian-built schools, clinics and industrial parks around the city will be connected to the Iranian interior thanks to an $80 million railroad spur currently under construction. Homayoun Azizi, the head of Herat’s provincial council, says he’s grateful for the “huge impact” Iran has had in accelerating economic growth in the region, “But,” he asks, raising an eyebrow, “what are they doing beneath it all?”
More at Time

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