BY: Ebrahim Fallahi

Khaf-Herat railway inaugurated

December 11, 2020 - 14:5

TEHRAN - Iranian President Hassan Rouhani and Afghan President Ashraf Ghani on Thursday officially inaugurated the strategic Khaf-Herat railway project in a video conference.

The 222-kilometers-long Khaf-Herat railway is part of the Iran-Afghanistan rail corridor. The project started in the fiscal year of 2007-2008, connects Iran’s eastern city of Khaf to Afghanistan’s western city of Ghoryan.

Speaking at the inauguration ceremony, Rouhani said that the launch of the Khaf-Herat Railway will strengthen relations between the two neighboring countries of Iran and Afghanistan.

“Today is a historical day 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,” Rouhani stated.

He further underlined the completion of the project despite the coronavirus pandemic as a great success for both sides, saying: "Today is a happy day for the two governments of Afghanistan and Iran, and I, for my part, am very happy that although I could not attend the inaugural ceremony of this important project due to the spread of the novel coronavirus, we will witness the grand opening by the order of the two presidents through videoconference and this day will surely be unforgettable for us as a historic day.”

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani for his part called the project a historical plan and crucial for trade and economic development between the two sides.

The project inaugurated today is the fruit of efforts made by the two neighboring countries to reach economic welfare for the future, the Afghan president said.

Further, he thanked the Islamic Republic of Iran for its help extended to Afghanistan to fight the coronavirus pandemic.

Elsewhere in his remarks, Ghani noted that completion of the Khaf-Herat railway during the pandemic era is an indication of both sides' strong national determination.

He underlined the significance of the railway calling it the starting point for the revival of foreign trade and economic development of the two countries.

The Khaf-Herat railway was mainly implemented by the Islamic Republic of Iran under a tripartite agreement between Iran, Afghanistan, and India, Eslami said, adding: “One of the most successful countries in using the capacities of Iran’s Chabahar port for expanding trade exchanges is Afghanistan.”

The project was implemented in four parts, Iran was in charge of completing three of the mentioned four parts, two of which are in the Iranian territory and the other two are on the Afghan side.

Iran sent its first cargo of exports to Afghanistan last week via the Khaf-Herat railroad as a trial dispatch to detect possible technical problems and issues on that route.

The 500-ton cement cargo from Iran's Khaf city arrived in Ghoryan district of Herat on Wednesday, December 2, indicating that the route was clear for the official inauguration.

Khaf-Herat line is part of the much bigger East-West Railway Corridor project which extends from China to Europe through Iran and Afghanistan.

Iran and Afghanistan have signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with five other countries that are in the way of the East-West corridor and further negotiations are still ongoing in this regard.

EF/MA

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