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Public Works on track with new road linking Badakhshan to China

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(Last Updated On: May 11, 2021)

The Ministry of Public works said Tuesday that construction of a road, connecting Afghanistan’s Badakhshan province to China, is underway and 15 percent of the project has been completed.

The Ministry said in a statement, the construction of a 49.7km unpaved road has started from Bozhai Gonbad Khord Pamir in Badakhshan and extends to the end of the Wakhan corridor close to the border with China.

The Ministry stated that the project is part of the government’s future plan for boosting regional transit that “brings Afghanistan steps closer to regional connectivity and economic policy.”

The project, at a cost of more than 369 million AFN, will be funded by the government, the statement said.

According to the statement, the impassable mountainous Wakhan corridor, which is a narrow strip of territory in Badakhshan province that extends to China and separates Tajikistan from Pakistan and Kashmir, would be connected to China via the road.

The Ministry of Public Works stated that the road, which will eventually be paved, will be the Wakhan Route and will “not only be a shortcut between China and Afghanistan…but will also help tourists reach Wakhan National Park.”

Historically, Badakhshan is a region comprising parts of what is now north-eastern Afghanistan, eastern Tajikistan, and the Tashkurgan county in China. However, the name is retained by Afghanistan in Badakhshan Province.

Located in northeastern Afghanistan, Badakhshan is bordered by Tajikistan, Pakistan and China.

Most of the province is occupied by the Hindu Kush and Pamir mountain ranges.

Once Badakhshan was a stopover on the ancient Silk Road trading path but the Wakhan corridor has been closed to regular traffic for over a century as there is no modern road.

There is a rough track for a few dozen kilometers that was built in the 1960s, but for much of the way, to the Chinese border, there are only rough paths.

The remoteness of the region has meant that, despite the long-running wars of Afghanistan since the late 1970s, the region has remained virtually untouched by conflict and many locals, who are mostly composed of ethnic Pamir and Kyrgyz, are not aware of wars in the country.

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Afghanistan and Turkmenistan to sign marble export agreement

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(Last Updated On: June 6, 2021)

Minister of Foreign Affairs Mohammad Haneef Atmar and Foreign Minister of Turkmenistan Rashid Meredov, have discussed Afghanistan exporting marble to Turkmenistan.

In a statement issued by the Afghan foreign ministry, MoFA said the Afghan delegation provided comprehensive information to their Turkmen counterparts on the various natural resources and rare stones available in Afghanistan.

The Afghan delegation said the export of the resources would be significant in strengthening and expanding trade between Kabul and Ashgabat.

Highlighting development taking place and the construction around building new cities in Turkmenistan, the Turkmen delegation discussed their requirement for marble and expressed Turkmenistan’s full readiness to procure marble from Afghanistan.

The two sides agreed to sign an agreement on Afghanistan’s marble export to Turkmenistan.

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Parliament ratifies Iran, Afghanistan rail cooperation agreement

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(Last Updated On: May 31, 2021)

Iran’s Parliament on Monday passed Iran-Afghanistan Rail Cooperation Agreement that allows rail connection between the neighboring countries.

Iran and Afghanistan agreed to make direct connection through railroad to transfer passengers and goods.

According to the agreement, the two sides have agreed to provide rail vehicles and services and implement sanitary supervision in accordance with international rules, while domestic rules are valid where an issue occurs outside of international conventions.

The agreement also states that the two sides must treat passengers and goods from the other side the way they treat their own. This applies to free access to destination points, providing space for cargos in terminals, unloading and uploading of cargos, onboarding and offboarding passengers, and using international railroad services.

Islamic Republic of Iran Railways and Afghanistan Railway Authority have been chosen in the agreement as qualified authorities to supervise implementing the agreement and to solve disagreements.

Iran and Afghanistan linked their railway through Iran’s Khaf and Afghanistan’s Herat.

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Chinese consortium meets with Ghani over $400 million power project

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(Last Updated On: May 30, 2021)

A group of Chinese investors met with President Ashraf Ghani on Saturday to discuss the possibility of establishing a coal-fired power plant in the country.

The Presidential Palace (ARG) said in a statement the group plans to invest $400 million in the energy-generating project.

The plan is for the coal power plant to generate 300 megawatts of electricity.

“In the meeting, President Ghani articulated potentials of natural resources as well as investment opportunities in the energy sector in Afghanistan,” the statement read.

The statement noted that Ghani has instructed the Afghanistan Investment Facilitation Unit to assess the plan “in coordination with Da Afghanistan Breshna Sherkat to facilitate investment opportunities for the group and to share the outcome with the Office of the President.”

Energy in Afghanistan is provided by hydropower followed by fossil fuel and solar power.

According to Da Afghanistan Breshna Sherkat (DABS), approximately 35% of Afghanistan’s population has access to electricity.

Currently, Afghanistan generates about 600 megawatts (MW) of electricity from several hydroelectric plants as well as using fossil fuel and solar panels.

However, more than 670 MW more is imported from neighboring Iran, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan and Turkmenistan.

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