Uzbekistan Extends Agreement With Taliban to Continue Operating Hairatan-Mazar-I-Sharif Railway

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The Afghan Railway Administration and Sogdiana Trans (a subsidiary of Uzbekistan Temir Yollari) signed an agreement on February 12 to continue operating the Hairatan-Mazar-i-Sharif railway, the press service of the Uzbekistan Temir Yollari company reported following the negotiations held in Termez.

Sogdiana Trans will service this section for another two years in accordance with the new contract.

In addition, the parties agreed to accelerate the joint restoration of the delivery of goods to the Mazar-i-Sharif terminal station and to train specialists from the Afghan Railway Administration.

Negotiations of the Afghan delegation with representatives of Uzbekistan Temir Yollari and Sogdiana Trans began on February 8. Two days later, the parties signed a protocol on the continuation of the operation of the railway and resumed the delivery of freight cars to Afghanistan, which had been suspended since February 1. 714 wagons were delivered on February 10-11.

Head of the Afghan Railway Administration Bakht-Rahman Sharafat said in December that a contract was signed with Mansour Fatih from Kazakhstan to service the Hairatan-Mazar-i-Sharif section of the railway, but Uzbekistan denied this information, saying that negotiations were still underway.

The Sogdiana Trans enterprise was established in December 2011 to operate and maintain the Hairatan-Mazar-i-Sharif railway line. Uzbekistan Temir Yollari completed the construction of a 75 km long line for $129 million in November 2010.

Nearly half of Afghanistan’s imports pass through the Hairatan station, as well as a significant portion of humanitarian supplies.