First 85 kilometres of the TAT railway inaugurated
The project seeks to link Turkmenistan, Afghanistan and Tajikistan. With a US$ 2 billion price tag, it is expected to increase international economic cooperation.
Ashgabat (AsiaNews) – Turkmenistan’s President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov and his Afghan counterpart, President Ashraf Ghani, officially inaugurated the first section of the TAT railway that is set to connect Turkmenistan, Afghanistan, and Tajikistan.
This is the first railway link between Turkmenistan (Atamyrat) and Afghanistan (Aqina). Construction of the first part (85 kilometres) began in June 2013 in the 400-kilometre line. The second part (36 km) is now under construction; it will link the Afghan cities of Aqina and Andkhoy before going east towards the Tajik border.
During the opening ceremony, the Afghan president thanked his Turkmen counterpart for investing in the future of his country. He also described the railway as an important step in strengthening relations between the two nations, and in promoting regional economic co-operation in Asia.
The project, whose cost is estimated to be around US$ 2 billion, will facilitate and boost international economic co-operation.
Afghanistan and Tajikistan have not contributed financially to the railway. Afghanistan is still caught up in the growing Taliban insurgency, which could hinder the project. The Tajik government announced that it would not invest in the railway until Afghanistan’s internal stability is not restored.
If the link is completed, both Kyrgyzstan and China have expressed interest in connecting to the railway, which could bring economic benefits to more isolated regions.