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Afghan rail link ‘expands Iran influence’

Afghan rail link ‘expands

KABUL: The kickoff of another rail interface among Iran and Afghanistan will increment exchange as well as Tehran’s political impact on the land-bolted country, authorities and specialists accept.

The 140 km rail line from Khawaf in eastern Iran to western Afghanistan opened on Thursday, giving a vehicle interface that will permit Afghan merchandise to arrive at Iranian ports on the Arabian Gulf and Gulf of Oman. The rail line additionally offers Iran another course into Central Asia.

“Iran has expanded its contribution here in light of the fact that it will profit for quite a long time to come from its imports here and to Central Asia,” Afghan MP Fawzia Zaki disclosed to Arab News on Friday.

The rail connect was introduced in a virtual service by Afghan President Ashraf Ghani and Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, who said that it would “reinforce relations among Afghanistan and Iran.”

The line traverses 70 km in Iran and 60 km in Afghanistan, with Afghan specialists intending to protract it by 80 km to arrive at the city of Herat and its mechanical park, which has become an exchanging center with Iran and Central Asia as of late.

Nearby authorities gauge that Afghanistan can import 2 million tons of products yearly from Iran through the Khawaf-Herat connect. Other than cargo, the railroad will likewise convey travelers.

“The passage can open the undiscovered exchange capability of Afghanistan and prepare for financial development,” Ahmad Samin, a previous consultant to the World Bank, revealed to Arab News.

As indicated by Shamrooz Khan Masjidi, representative for Afghanistan’s account service, the task likewise will decrease Kabul’s reliance on Islamabad for exchange.

“It will more than anything lessen dependence on Pakistan. It’s important for our territorial network uber plan. Afghanistan needs moderate and associated transportation for its monetary development and exchange balance. Railroads offer that stage. We can associate with Iran as well as the more extensive district,” he said.

In any case, while the rail interface is required to make Kabul less dependent on Pakistan, it is probably going to expand Iran’s political impact.

“Iran is a significant exchanging accomplice with Afghanistan and the Khawaf-Herat railroad will additionally reinforce the two nations’ financial and political relationship,” expert Shakib Noori said.

The Afghan government should improve its security and guarantee the railroad doesn’t turn into a “easy objective for psychological oppressor gatherings,” he added.

Torek Farhadi, a previous counsel for the International Monetary Fund, revealed to Arab News that exchange with Iran is a “geostrategic goal” for Afghanistan since it offers “more choices for imports from worldwide business sectors.”

“Decreasing dependence on Pakistan bodes well,” he said.

Another political expert, Nasratullah Haqpal, said that “Iran is quick to extend its impact and financial ties in Afghanistan due to its undiscovered assets and different open doors in the area.”

He said that the US likewise accepts the Iranian port of Chabahar has an essential function in exceeding China’s gigantic framework interest in Pakistan.

“The US needs to diminish Beijing’s function being developed tasks in the district and thusly has excluded Chabahar in its approvals,” Haqpal said.