Afghanistan President Ashraf Ghani and Iranian President Hassan Rouhani both spoke online at the ceremony. Both presidents said they wanted to attend, but did not due to COVID-19 fears
The Herat-Khawaf railway will strengthen relations between Afghanistan and Iran, Rouhani said.
President Ghani called the Herat-Khawaf railway a vital and important project, not only for Afghanistan and Iran but also for the region and beyond.
Khawaf-Herat railway is 130 km long, with 70 km in Iran and 60 km in Afghanistan.
On Wednesday, Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif hailed the joint railway project linking eastern Iran to western Afghanistan as a boost to regional trade and travel.
Khaf-Herat railway is important “not only for Iran and Afghanistan, but for the greater region,” Zarif said in a tweet, adding that “as a gateway that’ll boost trade and people-to-people exchanges, it will also contribute to regional stability and development.”
A week ago, for the first time, imported goods arrived in Herat from Iran via the Herat-Khawaf railway. The cargo was “500 (metric) tons of cement,” said officials.
Meanwhile, another passenger train carrying Iranian officials also arrived in the Ghoryan district of Herat.
Afghanistan can now benefit from a railway that for the first time links Turkey and Europe with Iranian ports in the Persian Gulf.
The project was started in April 2007 with Iran’s aid at a cost of $75 million and was due to finish in 2009, but was delayed because of various issues.
Completion of the project will affect transit facilities in Afghanistan and solve many investors’ and merchants’ problems.