Afghanistan — Railway project gets on track

Kab­ul, Afghanistan – Min­ing min­er­als and raw mate­ri­als is one of the most prof­itable busi­ness­es in the world. Whether its coal or raw met­als, it’s one indus­try that Afghanistan can­not afford to miss out on, but in order to do that, they need a way to trans­port the materials. 

That is where the Rail­way Advi­so­ry Team comes in. 

“The Rail­way Advi­so­ry Team is here to cre­ate a rail­road author­i­ty in Afghanistan much like those found in the U.S. or Europe,” said Army Maj. Tim­o­thy Chris­tensen, Inter­na­tion­al Secu­ri­ty Assis­tance Force Head­quar­ters Afghanistan Rail­way Advi­so­ry Team. “We are capac­i­ty build­ing and teach­ing Afghans about railroading.” 

The Afghanistan Rail­way Author­i­ty, which is wait­ing for approval from the Afghanistan pres­i­den­tial cab­i­net, will be set up to mon­i­tor and reg­u­late the rail­way indus­try in the country. 

“We are teach­ing the Afghan peo­ple from the ground up on how to run a rail­way and con­nect­ing them with inter­na­tion­al indus­tries to get that extra piece of knowl­edge so they can become the reg­u­la­tors of the rail­ways in Afghanistan,” said Christensen. 

They are here to help build the infra­struc­ture for the Afghans and teach them about the rail­way indus­try. The next step is to help them build a nation­al rail plan for all of Afghanistan, he said. 

“Afghanistan has an amaz­ing amount of min­er­al wealth in the ground, a lot of it is in coal and iron ore,” said Chris­tensen. “Those two com­modi­ties can­not be moved eco­nom­i­cal­ly with­out a rail­road. In order to devel­op Afghanistan’s econ­o­my to its fullest poten­tial, a rail­road will be necessary.” 

Afghanistan has only 75 kilo­me­ters of rail­way right now, which is cur­rent­ly not operational. 

This isn’t the first time this has been done in a for­eign coun­try. Accord­ing to Army Maj. Scott Mey­er, ISAF Head­quar­ters Afghanistan Rail­way Advi­so­ry Team, this is the same con­cept that was put into action in Iraq. Sim­i­lar prac­tices will be put in place in Afghanistan. Cur­rent­ly, the Rail­way Advi­so­ry Team has sev­er­al Afghans work­ing with them to learn the process. 

“We will even­tu­al­ly begin train­ing the Afghanistan Rail­way Author­i­ty per­son­nel how to plan and oper­ate a rail­way,” said Army Sgt. 1st Class Shawn Stokes, ISAF Head­quar­ters Afghanistan Rail­way Advi­so­ry Team. “Right now we are try­ing to build a train­ing plan for the ARA.” 

Chris­tensen added that even­tu­al­ly, the Afghans will be able to train their fel­low coun­try­men and con­tin­ue the pro­gram. “The mem­bers we will train will become the future lead­ers of the ARA.” 

Press release
Inter­na­tion­al Secu­ri­ty Assis­tance Force Headquarters 

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