Presidents, top officials participate through video link from several locations
A number of connectivity and communications facilities between Turkmenistan and Afghanistan, all of them built and financed by Turkmenistan, were opened on Thursday, 14 January 2021.
The presidents and top officials of both the countries took part in the in the back-to-back ceremonies from several locations through the video link.
Here are the facilities that were opened on Thursday:
- 30-km railway line between Akina and Andkhoi towns of Afghanistan. This is the extension of the Imamnazar-Akina railway connection that was also built by Turkmenistan. Imamnazar is the border on Turkmen side of the border between Turkmenistan and Afghanistan.
- Fiber optic link between Imamnazar town of Turkmenistan to Akina town of Afghanistan.
- Fiber optic link between Serhetabat city of Turkmenistan and Torghondi city of Afghanistan.
- Power transmission line between the Turkmen city Kerki and the Afghan city Sheberghan.
The presidents of both the countries addressed the participants through the video link.
First, the President of Turkmenistan Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov addressed to the audience. His speech was delivered to the participants of the event present in the “Rukhiyet” Palace of the Lebap region. The participants of the ceremony in Afghanistan, as well as in the Mary region observed the event via teleconference.
In his speech, the President of Turkmenistan said that “all three projects that have been completed in short time are united by a common meaning and goal – to give strong impulse and ensure long-term development of our countries, well-being and prosperity of Turkmen and Afghan people, assist expanded international cooperation, mutual understanding, political and social stability.” He also noted that the implementation of given projects was the result of multiyear close and constrictive Turkmen-Afghan cooperation.
Then, President of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan Mohammad Ashraf Ghani who was watching the ceremony in the Presidential Palace of Kabul addressed the audience. Warmly welcoming the participants, he noted that these events have special meaning for Afghanistan and his people. Speaking about the origins of the given projects, the head of Afghanistan highlighted their importance not only from the perspective of socio-economic reestablishment of the country, but also from the prospect of regional economic integration. The head of Afghanistan expressed gratitude to the leadership of Turkmenistan for fraternal support and care about the close neighbor. He noted that Turkmenistan unites not only the countries of the region, but also of the whole world. The participants of the event listened to the address of the President Ashraf Ghani through a teleconference.
Then, the heads of railway transport, energy and communication sectors of Turkmenistan and Afghanistan made speeches. They told about the outstanding work done on the part of Turkmenistan and Afghanistan for the implementation of current infrastructures and informed about the readiness to the commissioning of railway between Aqina and Andkhoy stations, international fiber-optic communication system and transit flows from Imamnazar (Turkmenistan) to Akina (Afghanistan) and from Serhetabat (Turkmenistan) to Torghundi (Afghanistan), as well as the power transmission line from Turkmen city of Kerki to Afghan city of Sheberghan.
Upon the completion of these speeches, the moderators of the ceremony asked the President of Turkmenistan Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov and the President of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan Mohammad Ashraf Ghani to give their blessings for the commissioning of the given facilities.
Thus, the participants of the ceremony saw through a teleconference how the railway carriage consisting of 20 loaded cars left from the Aqina station to Andkhoi city in festive setting.
Besides, the commissioning of the power transmission line from Kerki to Sheberghan took place through the use of special equipment. The participants of the event observed the transmission of electricity through the line that was shown on the screen by a technological imitation model.
Also, the participants of the ceremony watched the video presentation of the commissioning of the international fiber-optic communication system and transit flows from Imamnazar (Turkmenistan) to Akina (Afghanistan) and Serhetabat (Turkmenistan) to Torghundi (Afghanistan).
The railway line, though only 30 km in length, is important in several ways. It brings the physical presence of railway structure closer to the route of the proposed Pakistan-Afghanistan-Uzbekistan railway line. This is also the point for Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Tajikistan railway line to veer upward toward Tajikistan. Additionally, it adds to the potential of the Lapis Lazuli Corridor. It is a short railway line with enormous possibilities.
The power transmission line along Kerki (Turkmenistan) – Sheberghan (Afghanistan) route with the length of 153 kilometers and the voltage of 500 kV is a part of the power transmission line project along “Turkmenistan – Afghanistan – Pakistan” route aimed at the creation of infrastructure for the export and import of electric power between the three countries. Thus, the electricity from Turkmenistan will be supplied to a number of cities of Afghanistan, in particular Mazar-e-Sharif, with further access to the cities of Pakistan. /// nCa, 14 January 2021 (with input from pool material)