Uzbekistan denied media reports that the Uzbekistan Railway had lost the right to manage the Hairatan - Mazar-e-Sharif railway line.
Earlier Tolo News reported that the Afghan authorities signed a new contract for the management of the Hairatan-Mazar-i-Sharif railway with a Kazakh company.
Acting Afghan Railway Authority Bakht Rahman Sharafat clarified in a conversation with Tolo News that the new operator will receive $4.1 million a year from Afghanistan for services.
“Earlier, we paid $15 million to Sogdiana-Trans from Uzbekistan, which provided its services only on 22 km [of the railway] in Hairatan,” Sharafat said.
According to him, the new company from Kazakhstan will serve 106 km.
According to the press service of the Uzbekistan Railways company, on December 5-7 this year, regular consultations were held in Termez on the conditions for the technical operation of the Hairatan-Mazar-i-Sharif railway section for 2023. The meeting was held by representatives of the Uzbekistan Railways company and employees of the Afghan railway department.
The press service recalled that since 2011, Sogdiana-Trans (a subsidiary of Uzbekistan Railways) has been operating the railway section in Afghanistan.
“Taking into account the prospects for the implementation of the Termez-Mazar-i-Sharif-Kabul-Peshawar railway line project and the need to start training local Afghan specialists, since 2019, the Termez training center has been working on training with further internships directly at the workplace,” the statement says.
The parties also discussed the possibility of attracting Afghan technical personnel provided by the Afghan Railway authority for the operation of the Hairatan-Mazar-i-Sharif railway section.
In addition, Uzbekistan Railways denied the reports of the Afghan media.
“While, fake news are surfacing in the media these days regarding the running of the Hairatan-Mazar-i-Sharif railway section in Afghanistan. In this regard, it should be noted that earlier, in April of this year, there were also cases of distortion by the media of information on the maintenance of the railway section in Afghanistan, referring to the statement of the head of the Afghan railways,” the press service noted.
As it became known, during a bilateral meeting in Termez, Sharafat said that there were no statements on what the Afghan media reported. He also gave an interview and spoke about successful cooperation with the Uzbek company Sogdiana-Trans.
“Uzbekistan Railways will inform about further cooperation with the Afghan authorities. We ask media outlets and bloggers to base their publications on information from official and verified sources,” the company concluded.