India-Backed Iran-Afghanistan Rail Link to Open in Less Than 100 Days: Reports

Iranian officials have asserted that the India-backed railway project connecting Iran with Afghanistan will be ready in the next 100 days as construction is in full swing and nearing completion.

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A Deputy to Iran’s Transportation Minister Abbas Khatibi said that Iran would link up Afghanistan with its railway once development for the line connecting the city of Khaf in Eastern Iran to the Afghan city of Herat is completed.
Khatibi said a major part of 191-kilometer railway would be completed in March or at last in April 2019, permitting the two neighbouring countries to commence rail transportation.

Iran has almost finished its part of the Khaf-Herat railway, which runs 139 kilometers in three sections straddling the border between the two countries. Reports in the Afghan media have hinted that the Kabul will complete the last phase of the work in partnership with an Italian contractor.

The Iran-Afghanistan railway like is expected to boost trade between Iran and Afghanistan, a country which has no active railway system. Lack of security in Afghanistan has been a major obstacle for the achievement of the railway. A mine explosion earlier this year on the Afghan side of the project killed one Iranian engineer and injured his colleague.

Afghanistan is expected to massively benefit from development of the Iranian rail network, especially through a key link connecting the port city of Chabahar on the Sea of Oman to Zahedan, near the Afghan border. The massive project, which is jointly built by Iran and India, is meant to facilitate trade from the Indian Ocean via Iran to Afghanistan and further north to the Central Asian countries.