New Afghan ambassador arrives in Tashkent

The newly appointed Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Afghanistan Muhammad Sodiq Daudzay presented his credentials to the Foreign Ministry of Uzbekistan on Thursday, the press service of the Foreign Ministry reported on Thursday.

During the meeting, both parties discussed the current state and future prospects of Uzbek-Afghan relations.

Afghan diplomats noted the important role of Uzbekistan in the socio-economic revival of Afghanistan, particularly in the construction and operation of the Hairaton - Mazar-e-Sharif railway as well as steady supplies of electricity.

Both sides also exchanged views on other issues of mutual interest.

As reported, in November 2010, the State Joint-Stock Railway Company (UTY) Uzbekistan Railways completed the construction of the Hairaton - Mazar-e-Sharif railroad in Afghanistan worth $170 million.

The total length of the railway line is 106 km, including the length of the main track which is 75 km. Road capacity is eight pairs of trains per day, or more than nine million tons of cargo a year.

The project is being funded by a grant from the Asian Development Bank (ADB) for $165 million and equity from the Afghan Government at the amount of $5 million.

In August 2011, Uzbekistan Railways signed a three year contract with the Afghan government on the commissioning of the Hairaton - Mazar-e-Sharif Railway.

In 2011, about 2.5 million tons of cargo was delivered to Afghanistan through Uzbekistan. According to preliminary data, this figure doubled in 2012.

According to the State Statistics Committee, in 2011, the volume of Uzbek-Afghan trade increased by 21.8% to $798.6 million.