Iran is in talks with the Taliban to resume a project that extends a rail link from the border city of Khaf to the Afghan city of Herat.
The deputy head of Iran’s Construction and Development of Transportation Infrastructures Company, Abbas Khatibi, said on Tuesday that negotiations are underway for the construction of the 225-kolometer cross-border Khaf-Herat railway project that was halted following the Taliban takeover of the country.
"Due to the political developments in Afghanistan and the change of government in the country, the construction and completion of the project was stopped for a while”, Khatibi said, adding that "This project will somehow revive the Silk Road. It can connect the East to the West and play an important role in reducing export and transit costs”.
In December 2020, Iran and Afghanistan inaugurated their first shared railway network, linking Khaf with the Afghan town of Rozanak about 140 kilometers (90 miles) from the border, but the part of the railroad that was supposed to reach Herat was never completed.
A further 85 kilometers (53 miles) of railway is needed from Rozanak to be connected to Afghanistan's third largest city.
Once completed, the railway would help transport six million tons of goods and up to a million passengers annually running along the East-West transit corridor connecting China to Turkey and Europe via Uzbekistan, Afghanistan and Iran.