Joint Tajik-Turkmen Railway Project Nears Groundbreaking

Tajik Minister of Transport and Roads Hayrullo Asozodas announced that his country, along with Turkmenistan and Afghanistan, have agreed to the final set of terms that would precede the construction of a multinational railway that would connect Tajikistan and Turkmenistan by way of Afghanistan. The railway project has been in the works since 2013, when the three sides signed a memorandum of understanding, and has begun to pick up steam in the last few weeks. Tajik officials have reported the negotiations over the rail’s specifics are currently underway with Turkmenistan, and that the final agreement is set to be signed in Dushanbe upon the completion of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, which will be held later this month.

Tajikistan has been forced to look for alternate overland transport routes due to the state of its relations with Uzbekistan, which are currently very poor. Goods bound for Tajikistan that cross through Uzbek territory are blockaded and sometimes held for ransom and resale, usually at exorbitantly high prices. The new route will allow for greater regional integration and increased trade with Turkmenistan, which is positioning itself as a gateway between Central and South Asian states and Russia, the historically most important investor in the region.

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