Afghanistan Aims Collaboration With Turkmenistan to Develop Lapis Lazuli Corridor

Afghanistan Aims Collaboration With Turkmenistan to Develop Lapis Lazuli Corridor
Meeting between the railway authorities of Turkmenistan and Afghanistan, Ashgabat, Turkmenistan.

The railway authorities of Turkmenistan and Afghanistan held talks in Ashgabat last week. During the negotiations, the Afghan side expressed interest in collaborating with Turkmenistan to develop the Lapis-Lazuli corridor (Afghanistan-Turkmenistan-Azerbaijan-Georgia-Türkiye). The discussions also focused on creating efficient multimodal transport schemes to increase transit potential and attract freight traffic from other countries, including India and Pakistan.

The head of Afghanistan's Railway Authority, Bakht-ur-Rahman Sharafat, arrived in Ashgabat on November 30 to participate in four-day talks between the railway departments of Turkmenistan and Afghanistan, the Agency of Transport and Communications under the Cabinet of Ministers of Turkmenistan reported on Saturday.

The working meeting centred on various subjects, notably the development of railway infrastructure within Afghanistan, the Turkmen side's responsibilities in managing and maintaining the Akina-Andkhoy railway, and the facilitation of freight traffic along the Lapis-Lazuli (Lazuli corridor) international transport corridor.

During the negotiations, the parties decided to establish a joint committee at the practical level to improve coordination, as the two sides agreed on measures of technical cooperation for their development.

In particular, the parties engaged in talks regarding the extension of the Akina-Andkhoy railway line, which Turkmen track builders had constructed. They also discussed plans for the construction of the 10-kilometre-long Andkhoy-Shibirgan section as well as the project for the Turgundi-Sanabar-Herat railway line. Notably, the Afghan side expressed interest in constructing a railway connecting to Mazar-e-Sharif.

According to the report, special attention was paid to the possibility of increasing railway freight turnover to boost bilateral and Afghanistan's trade with other Central Asian countries.