The presidents of Turkmenistan and Afghanistan opened new partnership stream
President of Turkmenistan Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov and President of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan Mohammad Ashraf Ghani launched new infrastructure facilities, namely, Akina-Andkhoy railway, built in Afghanistan at the expense of the Turkmen side, a power line and two fibre-optic communication lines.
The commissioning of these facilities will expand the opportunities for effective utilization of the transit and transport potential of the two states, their interaction in the energy and communication sectors, and integration into the system of modern international economic relations.
The leaders of Turkmenistan and Afghanistan took part in the opening ceremony via a teleconference that brought together participants from two countries. The centre of events in Turkmenistan was the city of Turkmenabat in the east of the country.
President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov, addressing the participants of the ceremony, said that these three projects are aimed at giving a powerful impetus to the long-term development of the two states, creating a reliable, rapidly growing energy, transport and communication system in this part of the Earth, as a very important and integral part of modern world economic relations.
The Turkmen leader assured his Afghan brothers, friends and partners in the region and around the world that in order to achieve these goals, Turkmenistan will continue to provide Afghanistan with economic, political and diplomatic support, both on bilateral basis and in the aspect of combining international efforts.
The head of state highlighted such significant currently implemented projects as construction of the Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India gas pipeline, power transmission lines and fibre-optic communications along the Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan route, and the Lapis-Lazuli transport corridor.
All this work will also contribute to strengthening security in the region, creating a favourable political climate for interstate cooperation, increasing the effectiveness of joint efforts to combat emerging threats, the President of Turkmenistan stressed.
Mohammad Ashraf Ghani said at the beginning of his speech that seven years ago, during his presidential campaign, when asked "How will he start his foreign policy?" he replied that he will start from Turkmenistan. “This statement surprised many domestic and foreign politicians. I am sure that today, seeing the extensive relations between the two fraternal and neighbouring countries, they understand the reason for my answer,” said the President of Afghanistan.
Projects to develop rail links, transmission of electricity to Pakistan and the transportation of gas to India and Pakistan, as well as formation of a fibre-optic network connecting South Asia by land with Europe, will improve the living conditions of the Afghan people and create development corridors, Mohammad Ashraf Ghani said.
“We strive to turn Afghanistan into a regional crossroad, and, undoubtedly, Turkmenistan, which has achieved many successes in this area, as a good neighbour and strategic partner of Afghanistan, can play a useful and valuable role in this regard,” he stressed.
Then the launch of new objects was broadcast via teleconference. This is a 30-kilometer Akina-Andkhoy railway line, which is part of a large-scale transport project initiated by President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov and designed to connect the countries of the region with further access to the railway network of China.
The construction of the first stage of the Asian International Rail Transport Corridor - the Kerki-Imamnazar-Akina section, was completed in October 2016. In July 2019, a 10-kilometer branch line was opened at the Akina station in Faryab province, and the construction of the Akina-Andkhoy railway was launched, which was commissioned today.
Turkmenistan and Afghanistan are implementing another transport project - the construction of the Turghundi-Herat railway. Its length will be 173 kilometers. As new logistics routes are connected to the Akina-Andkhoy and Turghundi-Herat railways, their role will grow as important links in the international transport corridor stretching from the Caspian to the Indian Ocean.
The first train departed from Akina station to Andkhoy city today. The caravan includes 20 freight cars and tanks with export products of Turkmenistan.
Ten of them will deliver various types of fuel to the destination, including ECO-93 gasoline, kerosene and other oil products, the other seven - mineral fertilizers and three more - crop products.
Then, by teleconference, a power transmission line from the Turkmen town of Kerki to the Afghan town of Shibargan was launched.
As part of this project, a gas turbine power plant, a 500 kV Kerki substation and an overhead power line to the Turkmen-Afghan border were built in the Lebap velayat.
At the first stage, the transmission line will supply electricity to the cities of Andkhoy, Shibargan and Mazar-i-Sharif. At the second stage - by early 2022 - to Puli-Khumri and Kabul.
Also, fiber-optic communication lines Imamnazar - Akina and Serhetabat - Turghundi (Afghanistan) were put into operation.
These projects were implemented based on DWDM technology (Dense Wavelength Division Multiplexing) - multichannel optical systems for international transit and local streams.
With the launch of new international fiber-optic communication lines, it will be possible to increase transit network traffic through Turkmenistan, to ensure its transmission to Afghanistan and further to Pakistan. It will also increase the speed of data transfer and guarantee a reliable communication link between Turkmenistan and the IRA. The new lines will help increase the speed of information flow between the countries of Europe, Asia and Southeast Asia up to 100 Gbps, and in the future - up to 6 Tbps.