BBC video of Hayratan

“”Ҳайратон” кўприги Афғонистонга неча миллион фойда келтирмоқда?” is a BBC Uzbek video about rail freight at Hayratan on the border with Uzbekistan, which was published on 30 November 2017. I don’t speak Uzbek so I have no idea what the commentary says, but there is lots of footage of the railway.

News on the Iran to Herat railway

Some news reports on the railway from Khaf in Iran to Herat in Afghanistan have appeared, although I can’t spot English-language versions.

Using Google Translate, I think the Fars News report about progress with the railway says that the 76.8 km from Khaf to the border has been finished. It is suitable for 160 km/h passenger and 120 km/h freight trains, and services could start in October[?].

A BBC Persian article possibly says that Iran’s consul general in Herat, Mahmoud Afkhami Rashidi, has said that [construction, track-laying?] work on the Iranian border to Ghurian third section of the railway will resume after Eid al-Fitr [6 July 2016]. The fourth stage of the line will be built by the Afghan[?] government and take the line to an industrial area in Herat[?]. The governments of Afghanistan and Iran have recently held talks about security and technical co-ordination for the construction of the line.

“The coal wagon rattles along”

I’ve been gathering some notes on coal mines in Afghanistan – I think there is something quite exciting to report soon – and then all of a sudden the BBC has this: Inside a crumbling Afghan coal mine by Quentin Sommerville, BBC News, Pul-e Khumri, northern Afghanistan.

Complete with pictures of the hand-worked narrow gauge railway.

Video of the railway in action. Keep going to the end for the tippler in action (and an abandoned tank).

More soon…!

Cost of road transport

Writing in Viewpoint: Measuring success in Afghanistan, Fotini Christia, a political scientist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology who has recently spent time in Afghanistan researching conflict and development says:

The cost of transporting goods is increased by violence and the chances of being attacked on the roads. If transport costs on a route were to fall it would be a positive sign.

In 2007 Afghanistan’s lorry drivers’ union estimated that each vehicle pays more than $6,500 (£4,216) annually in taxes and bribes extorted on Afghanistan’s roads.

Such costs are an important measure of the security situation.