Tajikistan, Afghanistan reach agreement on railway to Turkmenistan


DUSHANBE -- Tajikistan and Afghanistan have reached an agreement on the construction of a rail link to connect the two countries to Turkmenistan, Asia-Plus reported.

Tajik First Deputy Minister of Transport Suhrob Mirzozoda made the announcement in Dushanbe Wednesday (July 17).

Participants discussed the issue at an early-July session in Dushanbe of the Tajik-Afghan commission for trade and economic co-operation, according to Mirzozoda.

A Tajik-Afghan working group is hammering out an agreement that will likely be signed before the end of the summer, he said, adding that afterward the two sides will work on funding the project.

The presidents of Afghanistan, Tajikistan and Turkmenistan inaugurated the construction of the Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Tajikistan (TAT) railway connecting the three nations on June 5, 2013.

The railway's proposed routes have varied, but it is expected to span about 400km from Atamyrat, Turkmenistan, via Afghanistan to Panj, Tajikistan.

The planned railway is part of a regional transport initiative to open a shipping corridor between Central Asia and world markets via the Indian Ocean, a much shorter route for Central Asia than crossing Russia by rail to the Baltic Sea.

Afghanistan's neighbours have pursued various initiatives meant to help it defeat extremism through economic development.

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