Taliban Okays Pakistan, Afghanistan rail linkage


—Expresses desires for rail links between Peshawar-Kabul and Peshawar-Jalalabad
From Our Correspondent

KABUL: The Taliban-led government on Tuesday gave its approval for a railway link between Afghanistan and Pakistan, greenlighting rail links between the cities of Peshawar and Kabul and Peshawar and Jalalabad.
Approval for a rail link with Uzbekistan was also given. The cabinet of the new government, during the meeting, also approved a rail link between Jalalabad and the capital Kabul.
The cabinet meeting was presided by Afghan Prime Minister Mullah Muhammad Hassan Akhund.
During the first phase, feasibility studies and surveys would be conducted and the findings of the first phase would be shared with higher officials during the second phase of the project.
A change in police and armed forces uniforms was also approved during the cabinet meeting.
In December last year, Prime Minister Imran Khan signed a “Joint Appeal Letter” seeking $4.8 billion loan from various International Financial Institutions (IFIs) for a railway line project connecting Pakistan with Afghanistan, Uzbekistan and the Central Asian Republics.
The official statement noted that PM Imran “supported Uzbek efforts to secure financing for the project by signing Joint Appeal Letter addressed to the Heads of various International Financial Institutions (IFIs) by Heads of State/Government of Uzbekistan, Afghanistan and Pakistan.”
With the funds raised under the joint appeal, a 573-km long railway link will be constructed. The shortest economic track would run from Peshawar to Kabul and from Kabul to Uzbekistan via Mazar-e-Sharif and the route will have “27 stations, 912 artificial constructions and 7 tunnels” to facilitate cargo movement.