THE cross-border railway between Iran and Afghanistan returned to service on July 11 after the completion of work to repair infrastructure damage at Rozanak in Afghanistan, caused during the Taliban takeover in 2021.

In December 2022 the governments of Iran and Afghanistan agreed to complete the repairs within six months. Work was undertaken by Afghanistan Railways under the supervision of Iran's Construction and Development of Transportation Infrastructures Company (CDTIC).

Rozanak is the current eastern terminus of the route that will eventually run for 225km from Khaf in Iran to Herat in Afghanistan.

The first 140km from Khaf to Rozanak opened in December 2020, together with new customs facilities at the border. Work on the remaining 85km section between Ghurian and Herat was halted during the fighting in 2021.

Reopening the Khaf - Rozanak line and completing its extension to Herat has been a priority infrastructure project for both countries, with Iranian Railways officials recently visiting Afghanistan to discuss further cooperation with Afghanistan Railways on construction work and cross-border operations.

Used by both freight and passengers trains, the Khaf - Herat line will provide Afghanistan with access to sea ports and neighbouring countries, improving trading links with Central Asia, Russia, Turkey and Europe.

The new line is also expected to reduce transport costs, stimulate cross-border trade and develop economic relations.

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