Iran, Afghanistan Connected by Khaf-Harat Railway
IRAN NEWS NATIONAL DESK
TEHRAN – Iran and Afghanistan have inaugurated a railway project connecting the Iranian city of Khaf to Herat in the other country.
Present at the ceremony were Iranian President Hassan Rouhani and his Afghan counterpart Ashraf Ghani, who attended the event via videoconference due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The 225-km railroad project includes four phases that are currently under construction. About 78 km of the project, which includes two phases, is on Iran’s soil and the rest in Afghanistan.
Khaf-Herat, which is part of the Iran-Afghanistan rail corridor, started in the fiscal year of 2007-2008 and connects Iran’s eastern city of Khaf to Afghanistan’s western city of Ghoryan.
Completion of the project will affect transit facilities in Afghanistan and solve many investors’ and merchants’ problems in the country.
Implementation of the project will also show the importance of Iran’s position once again as it makes a boom in regional trade – exports and imports. The railway project will also contribute to the development of tourism.
Addressing the ceremony, President Rouhani said that the two nations have always had a close relationship and that the Khaf-Herat railway project will further strengthen this bond.
“Today is the day of compassion, mercy and also day of breakthrough for the two great nations of Iran and Afghanistan. The two nations from the same root, history, culture and from the same region who have maintained their brotherhood and neighborliness in the long run of history.”
Afghan President Ghani, for his part, welcomed the “historic” project, hailing it as a step towards further development of the two nations’ economies.
Iran’s Minister of Roads and Urban Development also said that Khaf-Herat Railway enjoys high capacity of transporting six million tons of cargo annually.
Speaking in the inaugural ceremony of Khaf-Herat Railway project, which was held online, Mohammad Eslami reiterated that this railway has the capacity of transporting six million tons of cargo and also one million passengers annually.
This inauguration is a unique interaction and coordinated cooperation between the two countries of Iran and Afghanistan, which has been launched based on friendship, he added.
Turning to the motto of the two nations with “One Culture and History”, Eslami stated, “In this field, we can always expand and develop friendship and cooperation bonds.”
As long as 225 km, 140 km of Khaf-Herat Railway will be inaugurated today while the remaining 85 km would be completed with better cooperation, he emphasized.
He said that the inauguration of this railway could provide a large share of transit and exchanges of goods between Iranian and Afghan traders, noting that this year more than 10 million tons of transit cargo have been exchanged from southern, northern ports, East-West and North-South corridors.
The Minister of Roads and Urban Development Eslami said that Khaf-Herat Railway would account for a large share of trade between the two countries.
Meanwhile, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif has described the project as a boost to regional trade and popular exchanges.
“The Khaf-Herat railway’s significance is not only for Iran & Afghanistan, but for the greater region. As a gateway that’ll boost trade and people-to-people exchanges, it will also contribute to regional stability & development. Turning our frontiers into bridges is a priority,” the chief diplomat tweeted on Wednesday.