Railways to bring ‘economic revolution’

Afghan minister predicts “economic revolution” if railway project completed

Finance Minister Hazrat Omar Zakhelwal told journalists today that Afghanistan would experience unprecedented economic development by the implementation and the opening of these railway lines. The finance minister, who left for Tashkent to attend the annual meeting of the Asian Development Bank [ADB], said that during his meeting with bank officials he would also try to attract financial assistance to implement the railway project from Mazar-e Sharif [the capital of northern Balkh Province] to Herat [western Afghan Province].

[Finance minister speaking to camera] We are looking for a donor for the Mazar-e Sharif-Herat Province railway project and if the project is completed – and I am sure that the project will be completed over the next five years, God willing – it will make an economic revolution in Afghanistan and the region as a whole.

According to Ministry of Finance officials, besides the ADB, a Chinese company, which has been given the right to extract copper at the Ainak mine in Logar Province, has also promised to construct a railway line from Mazar-e Sharif to Jalalabad [the capital of eastern Nangarhar Province]. According to economists, the construction of railway lines in Afghanistan, which needs hundreds of millions of dollars, will play a key role in the economic development of the country.

Source: BBC Monitoring South Asia. Originally published by Arzu TV, Mazar-i-Sharif, in Dari 1 May 2010.

Hayratan – Mazar-i-Sharif railway plan

Text of report by privately-owned Afghan Arzu TV on 18 June, reported by BBC Monitoring South Asia, 2009-06-19.

Rail Road Project to Link North Afghanistan to Uzbekistan

[Presenter] After a short time, new rail road will be built from Uzbekistan to Hayratan border town and from Hayratan to Mazar-e Sharif city, says Minister of Commerce and Industries Wahidullah Shahrani in a meeting with Uzbek railway minister in Hayratan border town. Mr Shahrani said rail road’s designing and technical procedure had been started and will be completed in nine months. He added Asian Development Bank will donate 100m dollars for building the rail road and a logistic station in Mazar-e Sharif city and Uzbekistan will cooperate in its technical procedure.

[Correspondent] Minister of Commerce and Industries Wahidullah Shahrani visited Hayratan border town of Balkh Province to meet Uzbek minister of railway and speak about building a rail road between Uzbekistan and Mazar-e Sharif city. The minister said building a railway from Hayratan border town to Mazar-e Sharif city costs 80-120m dollars, its technical and designing procedure costing 1.2m dollars will be completed after nine months. The project is funded by Asian Development Bank.