Uzbekistan and the New Realities of Trans-Afghan Trade

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Uzbekistan and the New Realities of Trans-Afghan Trade

Significant changes in the international logistics system are fueling the development of trans-Afghan routes, but Uzbekistan may have to deal with increased competition.

Since the beginning of the year, Uzbekistan has held several rounds of negotiations with Qatar and the United Arab Emirates on financing the construction of the $7 billion Termez-Mazar-i-Sharif-Kabul-Peshawar railway, which would link Uzbekistan to Pakistan via Afghanistan.

The project is crucial for the states of Central Asia and Afghanistan in terms of providing access to the sea, as well as strengthening their transit potential and geopolitical role, but the implementation of the Trans-Afghan Railway has long been complicated by instability in Afghanistan During the Republic period a major threat to the project was the Taliban; now the current Taliban government in Afghanistan is ready to act as a guarantor of the route’s safety. Another remaining major hurdle is the question of investment. As such, Tashkent has called on the Gulf monarchies to cooperate. Kazakhstan, Russia, and Belarus have also expressed interest.

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