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

French model for Afghan rail authority

The French model for development of rail infrastructure in Afghanistan

As part of the French Presidency of the G8, Thierry Mariani, Minister of Transport, former Special Representative of France to Afghanistan and Pakistan, co-chaired with Wahidullah Shahrani, Minister of Mines of Afghanistan and coordinator of Afghan infrastructure, an intergovernmental seminar on regional cooperation in rail around Afghanistan.

Today [4 July 2011] 21 countries represented by their ministers or deputy ministers, 6 international organisations and 14 railway companies participated in the seminar organized by the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Conseil Economique Social et Environnemental.

Wahidullah Shahrani, Minister of Mines of Afghanistan, with the Afghan Minister of Aviation & Transport, and the Afghan Minister of Public Works, announced the creation of the autonomous authority of the Afghan railways, building on the example of SNCF, the French operator.

This authority will act as leader and planner to identify priorities for development of railway infrastructure within the country and also establish railway cooperation with other countries in the area.

“We are honored that Afghanistan has chosen Paris and the Conseil Economique Social et Environnemental to announce the establishment of the railway authority. I will ensure that French experience and know-how are in the service of our Afghan friends and other countries in the region, in order to best help accomplish this great work of opening up of Afghanistan, a prerequisite for development and therefore its stability, “said Thierry Mariani.

Source: Based on Google translation of Le modèle français au service du développement des infrastructures ferroviaires afghanes. Ministère de l’Écologie, du Développement durable, des Transports et du Logement, Paris, France, 2011-07-04

So does this mean the Afghans are now planning their first railway strike…?