Investing in Infrastructure
Afghanistan’s infrastructure was largely destroyed during the Soviet invasion, civil conflicts after 1979 and poor maintenance since then. During these 30 years of conflict, virtually no development happened in this sector; therefore, it now faces a substantial infrastructural deficit. After 2002, Afghanistan planned to develop major infrastructure projects such as the National Rail Network, the electrical systems whose demands are increasing by 25% annually, National Road Networks, dams and airfields. Both donors and the government have recognized this as a critical issue for Afghanistan. While much has been done, the reality is that even more remains to do. Given this, for at least the next 30-50 years, there will be a series of large infrastructure projects aimed at giving Afghanistan the sort of infrastructural framework enjoyed by its neighbours at a similar level of development.
National/International Railway Projects
The first section of what is intended to be a national network was completed when Mazar-e-Sharif was connected by rail to Hairatan and through it to the networks of Central Asia and onto Europe. Construction work on a railroad connecting Afghanistan with neighbouring Turkmenistan has also been launched. The railway line is estimated to cost USD 800 million, which is being provided by the Asian Development Bank (ADB).
- Herat – Torghondi Port Railway Line ( 150 Km)
- TAT Railway ( 645 Km)
- Jalalabad – Torkham – Landi Kotal Railway ( 98 Km)
- Chman – Kandahar Railway
- Party Rarilway Road from China to Iran through Kyrgyzs Republic, Tajikistan and Afghanistan Gorani ( Iran ) – Herat Railway Five
National Road Projects
The reconstruction and refurbishment of Afghanistan’s 2,700 km ‘Ring Road’ was recently completed. Both the World Bank and ADB have committed significant funds to upgrade hundreds of kilometers of priority roads and finance the construction of new facilities to complement investment in mining. Some key projects that have been slated include:
- Ring Road Completion
- Upgrading the Salang Tunnel
- East-West Corridor ( 665 Km )
International Road Projects
Afghanistan lies at the crossroads of rapidly growing and resource rich economies in Central, South, and West Asia. Tapping the potential of regional integration will also become an important contributor to growth. The New Silk Road vision is a shared commitment to promote private sector investment, increase regional trade and transit, and foster a network of linkages throughout the region. The creation of a New Silk Road will help Afghanistan and its neighbours maximize the value of natural resources, build human capacity, create jobs, generate revenue to pay for needed services, and capitalize on the region’s economic potential.
- The Lapis Lazuli Corridor
- CAREC Corridor 3: Connecting Russia to the Middle East and South Asia through Afghanistan, Kazakhstan, the Kyrgyz Republic, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan
- CAREC Corridor 5: Connecting East Asia to the Arabian Sea through Central Asia
- CAREC Corridor 6: Connecting Europe to the Arabian Sea Port of Karachi/Gwadar, Bandar Abbas