Taliban Say Cargo Traffic From Afghanistan's Hairatan Town Suspended

KABUL (Pakistan Point News / Sputnik - 02nd February, 2023) Zabihullah Mujahid, the spokesperson of the Taliban (under UN sanctions over terrorist activities), said on Wednesday that cargo traffic from the port town of Hairatan in northern Balkh Province of Afghanistan had been suspended.

Mujahid said that urgent cargo shipment could be made through the port of Aqina in the northern Faryab Province of Afghanistan. He added that the suspension of cargo traffic from Hairatan was due to the decision of Uzbekistan's railway company.

Earlier on Wednesday, the press office of Uzbekiston Temir Yullari, Uzbekistan's national railway company, told Sputnik that it had suspended railway cargo shipments to Afghanistan starting February 1 due to Kabul's failure to fulfill its maintenance obligations.

The company noted that representatives of Uzbekistan and Afghanistan in December agreed on an action plan, stipulating that Afghan railroad workers would gradually perform maintenance of railways in Afghanistan by February 1, 2023. The sides also agreed to sign a new contract by January 27 on the operation and maintenance of the Hairatan to Mazar-i-Sharif railway in Afghanistan.

The company will assist in the delivery of essential goods to Afghanistan by road, using logistics centers and a river port in Uzbekistan's southern city of Termez, on the Uzbek-Afghan border, the office said. Information on the resumption of rail traffic between the countries will follow, the company said.

Uzbekiston Temir Yullari completed the construction of the 75-kilometer (46.6-mile) line from Hairatan to Mazar-e-Sharif in Afghanistan, worth some $129 million, in November 2010. In 2011, the company established the Sogdiana Trans subsidiary company to operate and maintain the line. According to the company, Sogdiana Trans has delivered about 28 million tonnes worth of cargo to Afghanistan in the last 10 years through the railroad between the countries. The contract for the operation of the railway has been repeatedly extended.