At a meeting with journalists in Surkhandarya province, the President Shavkat Mirziyoyev spoke about the importance of building the Mazar-i-Sharif-Kabul-Peshawar railway, its economic, geographical, political benefits and other details of the project.
He underscored that for Uzbekistan "one of the most important tasks has always been access to seaports, despite the borders being closed for many years."
“I call it the project of the century ... You know, in Tashkent officials of Uzbekistan, Afghanistan and Pakistan signed this project”. After 2-3 months, I met with the leadership of the World Bank, they agreed to provide US$ 35 million for the first stages - designing,” the president said.
According to him, major banks are ready to provide money for such projects only after careful analysis, according to which "the road connecting South and Central Asia, taking into account the political and economic aspects, will contribute for the development of the Afghan economy." Shavkat Mirziyoyev added that all transit fees will benefit to the Afghan people, and Uzbekistan's benefit is the opening of routes to Iranian and Pakistani ports.
“Imagine, the transportation of one Uzbek container through Iran or Pakistan will become 3-4 times cheaper, the time will be reduced by 4-5 times ... For exports, you need a route. When the road becomes short and cheap, stable economic development will be ensured, this will benefit businesses and competitiveness. Why did I instruct to build an international trade center - so that the Afghan people would buy our products not through intermediaries, but from first-hand,” the head of state explained.
“They tell me: 'Mister President, launch an open [road] for us, we will buy cars, equipment, and foodstuffs from you... Therefore, they are also waiting for this,” he added.
Here, the president said that the Uzbekistan-Kyrgyzstan-China and Mazar-i-Sharif-Kabul-Peshawar railways will become one of the largest infrastructure projects that will remain in the history of the country.
Commenting on the interest of the Russian side in this project, Shavkat Mirziyoyev announced that in the near future the governments of Uzbekistan, Russia, Afghanistan and Pakistan will gather to once again discuss the best options for laying the railway and approve its maintenance.
“Our young businesses will not suffer in the future as we are suffering. Now the businesses are pay, no matter what road they pass, there is no other way out ... ”- said the head of state.
In early February, Uzbekistan, Afghanistan and Pakistan signed a roadmap in Tashkent for the Mazar-i-Sharif-Kabul-Peshawar railway project The project was planned to be prepared in May, and the construction of the road - in September this year.
The project is estimated at US$ 5 billion. It involves the construction of a highway with a length of 573 km and a transit potential of up to 20 million tons of cargo per year. The new transport corridor will connect the European Union, Russia, Uzbekistan, Afghanistan, Pakistan, India and further the states of Southeast Asia.