ADB cuts support for construction of Afghan railway

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TAT Railway which would run from Afghanistan to Turkmenistan and Tajikstan, has an estimated cost of $2 billion

ANKARA – The Asian Development Bank (ADB) announced late on Tuesday that it has suspended its financial support for the construction of the Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Tajikistan (TAT) railway for an unknown term due to security risks in Afghanistan.

“The ADB has stopped financing the railway project because of the increasing tension in Afghanistan,” Si Si Yu, ADB’s Country Director for Tajikistan, told reporters  in Dushanbe, the capital of Tajikistan on Tuesday. 

“Although Turkmenistan has completed construction of its section of the railway, we do not intend to finance construction of a railway in country where (Afghanistan) security is not guaranteed,” Yu said. “It’s very risky.” 

The TAT Railway, which is planned to run 400 kilometers (248 miles), has an estimated cost of $2 billion. It would be an important link in the international transport operations between the three nations of Central Asia. 

The project, which is primarily financed by the ADB , was expected to be fully operational by 2018.

“We will probably return to this project when the security situation in Afghanistan improves,”  Yu added.

The presidents of Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Afghanistan agreed to build the railroad which connects three countries, in 2013.

The U.S. Pentagon said Tuesday in a report to the U.S. Congress that Afghanistan’s overall security has deteriorated during the second half of 2015, with militants staging more effective attacks and security forces suffering more casualties.

The report noted a 27 percent increase in casualties during the preiod of January to Nov.15 compared with the same period last year. 

 

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