The economic importance of Khaf-Herat Railway for Afghanistan
Khaf-Herat Railway is undoubtedly of great economic importance for Afghanistan. In addition to the fact that this railway line can directly affect the price and quality of imported goods in Afghanistan and remove costs such as car rental and other costs for merchants, can provide countless conveniences.
Although the Taliban have taken great steps to grow the country’s economy and have launched and commissioned major economic projects such as the Qush Tepa Canal in the past two years, they had not yet taken effective and necessary measures regarding the Khaf-Herat Railway line, which is a national project.
After almost two years of the Taliban rule, the Taliban officials started re-opening and restarting this railway line on Tuesday, July 11, 2023. Many analysts believe that the Taliban did not understand the economic importance of the Khaf-Herat Railway line as it really is, or were unaware of its advantages and benefits.
In any case, according to this situation, the current questions are, to what extent is the economic importance of the Khaf-Herat Railway line? What factors prevented the Taliban from paying attention to this railway line? In this article, we try to provide accurate and logical answers to the above questions.
The economic importance of Khaf-Herat Railway line
First of all, the Khaf-Herat Railway line is an important piece of the puzzle of Afghanistan as a regional transit road and has the ability to connect the country to global markets, especially Europe.
Considering that Afghanistan is landlocked and lacks water ports, the promise of connecting to Europe through the Khaf-Herat Railway line is the best news that Afghan people and businessmen might hear.
Secondly; Due to the fact that Iran is Afghanistan’s first economic partner and most of the country’s imports are from Iran, the connection of Afghanistan to Iran’s railway line will provide transportation of goods between the two countries at a lower cost, and faster, and will lead to the economic prosperity of Afghanistan. It also leads to more job opportunities in the western provinces of the country.
Therefore, the advantages and economic importance of the Khaf-Herat Railway line, is wonderful for Afghanistan from every angle we look at it, although it is also profitable and useful for Iran.
Taliban’s lack of attention to the Khaf-Herat Railway line
Khaf-Herat Railway line is 225 km long and has four sections, two of which are inside Afghanistan and two inside Iran.
The first, second and third parts of this railway line were completed and put into operation in the fall of 2019 during a webinar by the presidents of the two countries, but after that with the presence of the Taliban, the sweet story of the Khaf-Herat Railway, was forgotten until recently and finally on Tuesday (July 11, 2023), the Taliban authorities opened and restarted this railway line.
However, according to the people of Afghanistan, the launch and implementation of this project should have been done much earlier. Because there are huge economic opportunities and capacities in this project for Afghans. This delay had raised questions that were mentioned.
However, as it was said, many observers and analysts believe that the Taliban are afraid of the increase and expansion of trade with Iran under the influence of Western countries and the United States, and for this reason, instead of prioritizing the interests of the Afghan people, the Taliban gives importance to the approach of the countries of the world, especially the United States.
Although it is not possible to have a definite judgment on these issues, it is likely that the Taliban, due to economic problems and political and security instability, have not been able to tackle the national project until now.
However, there is still a possibility that the Taliban have been unaware of the tremendous economic importance of this railway line until now.
In any case, the Khaf-Herat Railway line has great economic advantages and importance for Afghanistan. The implementation of this project has solved most of the problems of merchants and has a direct impact on the price and quality of imported goods and provides many conveniences.
For this reason, it is necessary for the Taliban to make an all-out effort in this regard and put aside any shortcoming in the implementation of this project and put this national and economic project into operation and operate it as soon as possible.
Moslem Akhlaqi, is an Afghan Analyst
Translator: Mohsen Shahrafiee