AFGHANISTAN’s Taliban-led government has approved a rail link with Pakistan, which would run from Peshawar to Jalalabad and Kabul, along with a rail link with Uzbekistan. The lines were approved during a cabinet meeting on January 18, presided over by acting prime minister, Mr Mohammad Hasan Akhund.

The cross-border lines were previously discussed during a meeting between Pakistan, Afghanistan, Russia, Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan in December, a senior official working on the project told the media.

During the first phase of the project, Russia will conduct surveys and prepare feasibility studies. Each country is responsible for constructing the proposed line in its territory. The feasibility studies are due to be completed over the next three to four months.

“Pakistan, during previous the Afghan government, had decided to extend the railway track to Jalalabad but due to security reasons it was scrapped, but now as the situation has improved we would extend the track till Mazar-e-Sharif with the financial backing of donors,” a senior official told The Express Tribune.

Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Uzbekistan signed a roadmap for a $US 4.8bn, 573km line from Uzbekistan’s capital Tashkent through Kabul to Peshawar in February 2021.

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