China has flagged its second train to Afghanistan — this time to the commercial hub of Mazar-e-Sharif — as part of its deepening economic and security engagement with Kabul.
The state-run Xinhua news agency reported that the Afghanistan-bound train began its 15-day journey from the eastern city of Yiwu, home to the world’s leading small commodities market, on Sunday.
The train, hauling 100 containers of goods worth more than $4 million, will arrive at Mazar-e-Sharif via Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan. A single trip is 7,500 km and takes 15 days, half the time needed for maritime transportation. The service is expected to run weekly by the end of this year, Xinhua reported.
The northern Afghan city of Mazar-e-Sharif is a key commercial centre near the border with Uzbekistan.
China had sent its first cargo train to Hairatan in Afghanistan on August 25. The train that left China’s eastern city of Nantong is crossing the Alataw pass on the China-Kazakhstan border before heading into Uzbekistan towards Termez.