Turkmenistan completing construction of railway to Afghanistan
By Gunay Hasanova
Long-awaited construction of railway from Turkmenistan to Afghanistan aiming to boost the cooperation in the transport sphere is getting finalized.
The construction of a new railway from the Turkmen town of Atamyrat to the Afghan settlement of Akina is under completion, the Neutral Turkmenistan newspaper reported.
"Turkmen builders are completing the construction of the Atamyrat-Imamnazar section, constructing the railway through the Turkmen-Afghan border, as well as the railway through a small five-kilometer-area from the Turkmen border settlement of Imamnazar to Akina," the article said.
The new railway must connect the Afghan section of Akina-Andkhoy with Atamyrat-Imamnazar section in Turkmenistan and Panj district in Tajikistan.
Two Gulistan and Imamnazar railway stations, two large bridges over the Turkmen Karakum canal are being built as part of the project, according to the article.
The area is part of the transnational railway project along the Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Tajikistan route, the newspaper reported.
Turkmen President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov, Afghan President Hamid Karzai, and Tajik President Emomali Rahmon attended the groundbreaking ceremony of the new railway in June 2013.
"The Trans-Afghan transport corridor will be an important element in the formation of the extensive transport and communication infrastructure, meeting modern realities, in the Asian region," President Berdimuhamedov was cited in the article as saying.
The completion of the construction of the railway and installation work is scheduled for early November 2016.
It is expected that the transportation corridor passing through Turkmenistan, Afghanistan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, will have an access to China's extensive rail network and through it - to the rapidly developing states of the Asia-Pacific region.
The Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Tajikistan railway will be the next “golden link” of the Asia railway corridor, which, in turn, will be the most important segment of the international network of transportation communications between the two parts of the vast continent – Europe and Asia, the Neutral Turkmenistan newspaper reports.
Meanwhile, the commissioning of a terminal for receiving, storage and shipping of oil products are expected in November at the Imamnazar customs post.
Having the fourth largest gas reserves, Turkmenistan has been actively on the lookout to build transportation routes to large markets and the route through Afghanistan has been the most feasible and economical.
Turkmenistan also supplies electricity to Afghanistan on preferential terms and is working on increasing its export to the country.
The country delivers electricity to Afghanistan via the Imamnazar-Andkhoy power transmission line with the capacity of 300 million kilowatt hours and Serhetabat-Herat-Toraghundi power transmission line with the capacity of 200 million kilowatt hours.
The trade turnover between the two countries exceeded $1 billion in 2015.
Gunay Hasanova is AzerNews’ staff journalist, follow her on Twitter: @gunhasanova
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