Presidents open Turkmenistan – Afghanistan railway

The railway from Atamyrat in Turkmenistan to the Ymamnazar border crossing point (85 km) and Afghanistan’s customs facilities at Akina (3 km) was officially opened on 28 November 2016 by Turkmenistan’s President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov and Afghanistan’s President Ashraf Ghani.1

The first freight train on the new line comprised 46 wagons carrying flour, grain, cement, carbamide, urea and sulphur.2 3

Construction of the line had been launched by the presidents of Turkmenistan, Afghanistan and Tajikistan with an elaborate ceremony in Atamyrat on 5 June 2013, and a ceremony at Akina on 30 October 2016 marked the laying of the final rails.

A planned continuation of the line would extend it 35 km to Andkhoy, the first significant town in Afghanistan. The line also forms the first section of the proposed TAT Railway corridor from Turkmenistan via northern Afghanistan to Tajikistan.

The new line is the second cross-border railway between Turkmenistan and Afghanistan, after the short Soviet-built line to a freight terminal at Towraghondi, north of Herat.


Turkmenistan to Aqina railway reaches Afghanistan

A ceremony was held at Aqina1 in Afghanistan on 30 October 2016 to mark the laying of the final rails for the new railway from Atamurat2 in Turkmenistan to Afghanistan via the border crossing at Imamnazar.3

The new line is around 88 km long, with about 85 km on the section as far as Imamnazar and about 3.55 km on the cross-border secton which runs into Afghanistan.

Guests at the ceremony included Engineer Mahmoud Baligh, Afghanistan’s Minister of Public Works (the MPW includes the Afghanistan Railway Authority), Turkmenistan’s Minister of Railways and the country’s Ambassador to Kabul,4 Special Envoy to the President of Afghanistan on the CIS countries Shakir Kargar as well as representatives of the railway builders, media and local authorities.5

Atendees “greeted the symbolic moment with the storm of applause” when a “powerful tracklaying machine of the construction units of the Ministry of Railway Transport of Turkmenistan” laid the final rails and sleepers.6 Minister of Public Works Mahmood Baligh said co-operation with Turkmenistan to build the railway network would not only be beneficial for neighbouring countries and peoples, but would also contribute to widening mutually beneficial regional and international economic co-operation that meets the interests of peace, stability and sustainable development.

Laying the final rails for the railway from Atamurat to Afghanistan

Construction of the line is now almost finished, and the presidents of Turkmenistan and Afghanistan are scheduled to attend an opening ceremony on 28 November 2016.7.

The project included the construction of two 5.8 m wide bridges over the River Karakum, one 363 m long and one 256 m long, which were built by Turkmenistan in co-operation with specialists from Ukrainian company Altcom.8

The next phase of the line will run for 33 km within Afghanistan from Aqina to Andkhoy.9

The new line is intended to form the first stage of the TAT Railway corridor linking Turkmenistan, Afghanistan and Tajikistan. Construction had been launched by the presidents of the three countries with a ceremony on 5 June 2013.

Announcing the completion of the first section of the route, Turkmenistan’s Ministry of Foreign Afairs said the new railway “is intended to become an important link in the international transport, to encourage trade relations between the countries of the region and give a strong impetus to the restoration of the Afghan economy”, and would “contribute to the solution of social issues, ensuring employment of the population.”

The importance and potential of the new railway, which will connect Turkmenistan and Afghanistan with the economic ties, is proved by the intense freight traffic flow passing through the Ymamnazar customs post. Turkmenistan exports oil products, liquefied gas, carbamide, cement, grain, licorice, carbon, cotton seed oil, Saradja wool, etc. Moreover, large transit consignments of humanitarian and other cargoes pass through the Ymamnazar customs post. Citrus and fruits transiting through Afghanistan are registered as import. A number of food products are transported to the neighbouring countries of the region and Europe through territory of Turkmenistan.
Source: Turkmen construction specialists mounted the final joints of the first stage of the Asian railway in Akina, Afghanistan, Turkmenistan: The Golden Age, 30 November 2016.


  1. Also written Akina, Aqeena etc
  2. Or Atamyrat, and formerly Kerki
  3. Countless spellings including Ymamnazar, Ymam Nazar, Ymymnazar etc, sometimes inconsistently within the same official text
  4. شروع كار ريل گذاري خط آهن بندر آقينه با حضور وزير فوايد عامه، نماينده… , Ministry of Public Works, 1 November 2016
  5. The construction of the first phase of an international railway corridor Turkmenistan – Afghanistan completed, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Turkmenistan, 2016
  6. Turkmen construction specialists mounted the final joints of the first stage of the Asian railway in Akina, Afghanistan, Turkmenistan: The Golden Age, 30 November 2016
  7. Asian International Railway Corridor, Regional Economic Cooperation Conference for Afghanistan, 1 November 2016
  8. Altcom previously built a road bridge over the Amu Darya.
  9. Various similar spellings

Aqina railway to be completed next month

Generally, construction and installation works Atamyrat – Ymamnazar – Akina railroad are planned to be completed in the first decade of November, 2016.

Large social and economic impact is expected from this railway in Afghanistan, because, as a rule, automobile roads, power and energy lines are laid along such roads. Owing to such infrastructure, perspectives of such territories, where railroads are laid, along which working settlements appear, next to large industrial facilities, satellite cities grow. Thousands of working places are appeared; industrial growth is observed.


Thus, Turkmenistan – Afghanistan – Tajikistan railroad will become another golden link of the Asian railway corridor, which in its turn will become an important segment of international transport networks uniting two parts of the huge continent, Europe and Asia.

Source: The President of Turkmenistan held session dedicated to forthcoming opening of transnational railroad, State News Agency of Turkmenistan, 7 October 2016

Aqina railway opening ceremony committee formed

The President of Turkmenistan signed the Decree on establishment of special committee for provision of high organizational level of opening ceremony of Atamyrat – Ymamnazar (Turkmenistan) – Akina (Islamic Republic of Afghanistan) section of the first phase of International Asian railroad transport corridor as well as of hydrocarbons reception, storage and offloading terminal at Ymamnazar custom post of Atamyrat etrap of Lebap velayat.

According to the document, the Committee is assigned to develop the plan for abovementioned opening ceremonies, define measures for high organizational level and assign responsible leaders.

Source: Committee for opening ceremony of Atamyrat – Ymamnazar – Akina railroad line is approved, Turkmenistan: the Golden Age Online Newspaper, 7 October 2016

Turkmenistan – Afghanistan rail link to be completed in June 2015

On 10 January 2014 The Times Of Central Asia reported that “Additional forces were sent for construction of Atamyrat-Imamnazar (85 km) site of Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Tajikistan railway“, citing Altyn Asir (Golden Age) TV.

The report says completion had been planned for the end of 2016, but has now been brought forward to June 2015. The 400 km route between Atamurat, Imamnazar, Aqina, Andkhoy, Panj and Tajikistan “will be implemented by 2015”

Presidents launch construction of Turkmenistan – Afghanistan – Tajikistan railway

Turkmenistan’s President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov, Afghanistan’s President Hamid Karzai and Tajikistan’s President Emomali Rahmon were in Atamyrat on 5 June 2013 for an elaborate ceremony to launch construction of the first phase of a railway planned to link the three countries.


The helicopters took the leaders of Turkmenistan, Afghanistan and Tajikistan from the airport in Turkmenabat to Atamyrat town, where the ceremony would be held. The leaders of Turkmenistan, the Republic of Tajikistan and the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan signed a message to the descendants, put it into a capsule and poured the first shovels of concrete, thus giving a kick-start to the construction of the new railway.
Source: Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Tajikistan railway to be built, State News Agency of Turkmenistan (TDH), Turkmenistan: the Golden Age Online Newspaper, 5 June 2013

Design work for the initial 85 km from Atamyrat (formerly called Kerki) to the Imamnazar border crossing between Turkmenistan and Afghanistan was completed in 2012. Following a March 2013 meeting between the presidents, Afghanistan formally invited the Turkmen authorities to undertake studies for a 38 km continuation across the border to Aqina and Andkhvoy. This could be funded and built by Turkmenistan. It would provide a second rail link between the countries, in addition to the line to Towraghondi.

The longer-term plan is to continue the new railway across northern Afghanistan to Sherkhan Bandar and Tajikistan.

…[the Presidents] of Turkmenistan, Afghanistan and Tajikistan arrived by helicopter at Atamyrat station. Here, the leaders of three countries signed a letter addressed to posterity, put it in a capsule and place it in concrete, thus giving a symbolic start to construction of a new railway. In their presence, the first rails of Atamyrat-Imamnazar-Akina-Andhoi section of the main railway were laid. This section is stretching for 123 kilometers. The Turkmen part of the railway from Atamyrat station to Akina station, the first station of the new railway in Afghanistan, will be constructed by Turkmen specialists. The length of this portion is 87 kilometers.

Source: Construction of Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Tajikistan railway launched,, 6 June 2013.

Andkhoy railway studies complete, work to start ‘soon’

Design studies for the second Turkmenistan – Afghanistan railway line have been completed, and work will start “soon”, the Afghan President’s office reports following a meeting between Presidents Karzai and Berdimuhamedov in Türkmenbaşy on 25 January 2012.

… President Karzai met Wednesday morning President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov to discuss a number of important economic projects including the TAPI, the Afghan-Turkmenistan railway and electricity export to Afghanistan.
Accompanying the President on the trip was Afghan Mining Minister, who said a design and full study of a separate project involving the establishment of an 84 km of railway extending across the Atamyrat-Ymamnazar in Turkmenistan to Akina-Andhoi in Afghanistan had been finalized with actual work expected to begin soon.

Source: Afghan and Turkmen Presidents Vow to Implement Critical Projects, Office of the President, Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, 26 January 2012

From Turkmenistan comes this report:

The Presidents also noted the great potential of cooperation in transportation and communications sector. They discussed the project on construction of the railway Atamyrat-Ymamnazar-Akin-Andhoy. A framework agreement on construction of this railway was signed during the official visit by the President of Turkmenistan to Afghanistan in May 2011. According to the interlocutors, construction and commissioning of the new railway will not only serve the development of transport infrastructure in Afghanistan but can become a significant element in the regional and international transit transportation in the long term.
Source: Turkmen-Afghan high level talks held in Turkmenbashi,, 26 January 2012

Here is a map I put together previously:

View Turkmenistan – Andkhoy railway plan in a larger map

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

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 to Afghanistan railway discussed

Prospects for Turkmen-Afghan cooperation in railway sector discussed in Ashgabat

A meeting with a delegation of the Ministry of Public Works of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan led by Advisor to Minister Abdul Jamil Haser took place at the Ministry of Railway Transport of Turkmenistan.

During the meeting it was noted that currently economic cooperation between Turkmenistan and the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan was developed dynamically in many fields. For many years Turkmenistan has been supplying electricity to the northern regions of Afghanistan. This February President of Turkmenistan Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov issued the Resolution on construction of a new power transmission line towards Afghanistan that would enable to increase exports of Turkmen electricity to the neighbouring country as high as 5 times. The preparations for implementation of the Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India gas pipeline project are underway. Trade cooperation between the two countries is enhanced steadily.

In this context emphasis was put on the timeliness of the international initiatives to strengthen peace and stability in Afghanistan put forward by the leader of the Turkmen state at the 65th session of the United Nations General Assembly. These included the vitally important task to provide assistance to Afghanistan in development of transport infrastructure suggested by the President of Turkmenistan. In particular, the Turkmen leader put forward the proposal to implement the project of construction of a railway line from Turkmenistan to Afghanistan with a view of extending it onward in the territory of Afghanistan. International organisations, donor countries and international financial institutions could collaborate actively on this project.

The meeting participants discussed the specific aspects of this project and the possibilities to construct a new railway route, which would become an important link of the international railway network connecting countries of the Asian region.

In particular, the project provided for construction of the two sections of the railway route: the 85-km section Atamyrat-Imamnazar in the territory of Turkmenistan and the 35-km section from Imamnazar to Akina [Aqina] settlement in territory of Afghanistan.

The Turkmen partners informed the Afghan counterparts that the design work under the project for construction of the Atamyrat-Imamnazar section was nearly completed. This section will be built by the subdivisions of the Ministry of Railway Transport of Turkmenistan. The members of the Afghan delegations suggested that Turkmen specialists be involved in conducting a feasibility study and building the Imamnazar-Akin section in the territory of Afghanistan.

The meeting participants emphasized that dynamic trade and economic partnership between the two countries as well as implementation of new joint infrastructure projects would offer a powerful impetus to boost Afghan economy, address social challenges such as employment of local population, attract investment and have a positive influence on the current situation in the country.

Source: State News Agency of Turkmenistan, 2011-03-10