Uzbekistan suspends railway transportation to Afghanistan over ‘breach of contract’

KABUL (Khaama Press): Uzbekistan Railway Authorities have announced the suspension of freight transport through the Hairatan-Mazar-i-Sharif railway route to Afghanistan effective from February 1.
Uzbek authorities stated that the Taliban have failed to fulfill the technical obligations agreed upon by both sides while signing the contract with the Taliban authorities in December last year, therefore, the transportation services have been suspended.
According to the Uzbek officials, representatives of Kabul and Tashkent had met to discuss the railway issues last year in Termez city, and it was agreed by both sides the Afghanistan Railway Authority would be responsible for the technical issues and maintenance of the rail route in Afghanistan territory. However, it seems that the Taliban have not been able to act in accordance with the agreement signed by the two sides.
“Also, during the meeting, Sogdiana Trans and the Afghanistan Railway Authority mutually agreed on the list of works to be performed and their prices, and also agreed to sign a new contract by January 27 of this year, and the relevant Protocol was signed,” Uzbek Railway Authorities in a statement said.
The statement added that in order to support entrepreneurs and ensure the continuity of freight transportation to Afghanistan so as to prevent the stoppage of transportation of essential goods to the country, Sogdiana Trans will provide practical assistance “in carrying out cargo transportation to Afghanistan through logistics centers in Termez, through automobile transport and through the Termez river port”.
On December 6, 2022, negotiations with Uzbekistan Railway, Taliban officials signed a contract with a Kazakhstani company, Mansour Fatih, to manage the Hairatan-Mazar-e-Sharif railway line. With the suspension of freight transportation to Afghanistan, Taliban officials, Kazakhstani company, and Uzbek authorities are involved in the joint project. However, Taliban officials have not yet commented in this regard.