An Iranian freight with imported goods and the first-ever cargo with 500 metric tonnes of cement entered Herat on Wednesday, marking one of the last and largest milestones in the development of the Khawaf-Herat railway project. With this test cleared, the railway is expected to be open and operational in about 10 days.

The Khawaf-Herat project was started in April 2007, with Iran’s aid. The cost of the project was $75 Million and it is the largest joint infrastructure project of the two countries. 70 km of this railway line is in Iran while 60 km is in Afghanistan. This key infrastructural project was due to be completed in 2009 but several issues and complications resulted in extended delays. Via the 130 km long Khawaf-Herat railway line, Afghanistan can eventually link Turkey and Europe to Iranian ports. The head of the railway authority claims that this will allow Afghanistan to export goods with ease to all countries that are linked through this new railway.

Sayed Mustafa Dawoudi, the deputy head of the Afghan National Railway Authority said, “This was a successful test, our railway successfully completed its trip as per planning.”

Phase III of the Herat-Khawaf railway link is completed and the work on survey and design of some areas on the route will also be completed soon. A passenger train from Iran entered Ghoryan, Herat, but it is not known yet if the passenger train will be operational for regular public usage.

Herat-Khawaf railway is an important step toward regional connectivity and economic progress of Afghanistan.

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