Afghan, Turkmen Presidents inaugurate Asian International Railway line

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Ashgabat, Nov 28 (IANS) Afghan President Ashraf Ghani and Turkmenistan President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedow on Monday officially inaugurated the Asian International Railway line connecting the two countries at a special ceremony organised in Turkmenabad, local media reported.

Ghani called the inauguration of the Imam Nazar (Turkmenistan) and Aqina (Afghanistan) railway line “historic” and said his government remains committed to turning all the bordering provinces of the country into major economic hubs, Khaama Press reported.

Ghani said a railway line connecting the two nations was a positive step and that “today the railway joins Afghanistan with Turkmenistan, tomorrow with Iran and in the future with India and other countries”.

Calling it a major achievement, Turkmen President Berdimuhamedow said the Imam Nazar-Aqina terminal could play a key role for the traders, specifically the oil traders, as modern equipment have been installed at the port.

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He also said that the terminal can hold around 500 tonnes of trade commodities and will be a big success for the oil traders.

Ghani arrived in Turkmenabad on Sunday. He was on a three-day visit to the country.

The Afghan government has stepped up efforts to open new transit routes for the country with the first-ever cargo train from China arriving in the main Hairtan port located in north of Afghanistan in September.

Also, the construction of a railway line between Afghanistan and Iran officially kicked off near Herat province of Afghanistan in September.

Earlier this year, the leaders of Afghanistan, India and Iran signed the Chabahar port agreement in Tehran.

According to the accord, India would refurbish one of the berths at Shahid Beheshti port in Iran, and reconstruct a 600-metre-long container handling facility at the port. The port will provide an alternative for trade between India and Afghanistan.

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