CZ/SK verze

Iran-Afghanistan's Khaf-Herat Railway Sets Eyes on Global Logistics Networks

Iran-Afghanistan's Khaf-Herat Railway Sets Eyes on Global Logistics Networks
photo: Depositphotos/Iran-Afghanistan's Khaf-Herat Railway Sets Eyes on Global Logistics Networks
12 / 06 / 2023

Iran and Afghanistan have recently announced the successful completion of the inaugural rail operation on the Khaf-Herat railway line, marking a significant milestone in the relationship between the two nations.

The maiden voyage comprised 17 wagons carrying 655 tonnes of railway equipment for future rail development. Spanning 225 kilometres, the rail line stretches across Iran and Afghanistan, with 140 kilometres lying within Afghan territory and the remaining 85 kilometres in Iran.

While construction of the Khaf-Herat line has been ongoing for several years, this initial journey marks the first time that the railway has been fully operational. In 2020, a preliminary rail operation was launched, connecting Khaf with the Afghan town of Rozanak. However, the crucial link to Herat, accounting for 85 kilometres, was not yet established. Initiated in 2007 with a budget of USD 75 million, funded by Iran, the completion of this rail link presents an opportunity for both countries, currently facing Western sanctions, to connect with global logistics networks, such as the Five Nations Railway Corridor.

The Khaf-Herat railway is a component of the ambitious USD 2 billion Five Nations Railway Corridor (FNRC), projected to traverse Iran, Afghanistan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, and China. The FNRC, spanning around 2,000 kilometres, extends from Herat to the Afghan-Tajik border and, after crossing Tajikistan, passes through Kyrgyzstan to finally reach China’s Xinjiang region via the China-Kyrgyzstan-Uzbekistan (CKU) railway. While the CKU corridor is still in the planning stages, its importance lies in China’s efforts to expand its Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) into Iran, Afghanistan, and other Central Asian nations. Despite the remaining challenges, the successful trial run of the Khaf-Herat railway signals a positive outlook for the future of this expansive rail network.