CASE STUDY

How to Build a Railway in Afghanistan in 10 Months

A train on the track of the Hairatan to Mazar-e-Sharif Railway connecting Afghanistan to Uzbekistan. Photo credit: ADB.
A train on the track of the Hairatan to Mazar-e-Sharif Railway connecting Afghanistan to Uzbekistan. Photo credit: ADB.

Savvy project management accelerates construction of a 75 km railway in war-torn Afghanistan.

Overview

In 2009, Afghanistan's infrastructure was in ruins as a result of decades of war and instability. It was in this context that ADB proposed construction of a 75 kilometer (km) rail line connecting the northern city of Mazar-e-Sharif with Hairatan, a trade hub on the border with Uzbekistan. When first conceived, the security and logistical challenges were daunting. Yet in less than 2 years, Afghanistan's first-ever commercial rail link was up-and-running, transporting more than 6,000 tons of freight a day.

Financed through a $165 million Asian Development Bank (ADB) grant to the Government of Afghanistan, the Mazar-to-Hairatan link has increased the reliability and efficiency of Afghanistan's trade routes, lowered the cost of goods, and connected the landlocked country with new business opportunities in Asia and Europe.

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Project snapshot

  • 30 September 2009: Grant approved
  • 3 November 2009: Start of Project
  • 31 December 2011: End of Project - Original
  • 31 December 2012: End of Project - Revised
  • 5 April 2013: End of Project - Actual (financial closure)
  • January 2010: Contractor started work
  • 4 November 2010: Contractor substantially completed civil and railway works, 4 months ahead of schedule
  • AF11.36 billion ($165 million): At current exchange rates

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Meet the expert

  • Balabhaskara Reddy Bathula   
    Principal Portfolio Management Specialist, India Resident Mission

    Balabhaskara was the project officer involved in the entire process--from technical assistance processing to construction and operationalizing the Hairatan to Mazar‐e‐Sharif Railway Project.

   Afghanistan, Transport
   Last updated: August 2016

 




Disclaimer

The views expressed in these articles are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Asian Development Bank, its management, its Board of Directors, or its members.




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