Turkmenistan’s Foreign Ministry expresses “confusion” over Tajikistan’s statement on suspending TAT railroad project

On 22 September the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Turkmenistan expressed its confusion to the Tajik side in connection with the statement by Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Tajikistan to Uzbekistan, Mr. Imomi Sodik Ashurboyzoda, that Dushanbe intends to postpone until better days the idea of building Turkmenistan- Afghanistan-Tajikistan railroad.

On 20 September, in an interview to the Russian media outlet Kommersant, devoted to the development of transit transport flows in Uzbekistan, Ambassador Ashurboyzoda emphasized that the improvement of relationships with Uzbekistan encouraged Uzbekistan to defer until better days the project of the Turkmenistan-Tajikistan railroad through northern Afghanistan.

It has been previously reported that Uzbekistan seeks to become a transportation hub of Eurasia. Turkmenistan is pursuing the same goal.

Strained relations between Uzbekistan and Tajikistan are being improved after Shavkat Mirzioyoyev was elected President of Uzbekistan.

In January 2017 Tajikistan had already officially announced the intention to lay the railroad passenger route through Uzbekistan to Russia, bypassing Turkmenistan, which caused indignation in the Turkmenistan Foreign Ministry which had recalled previous agreements on railroad transportation by increasing volumes of cargo and passenger flow from Tajikistan to third countries via the territory of Turkmenistan.

Despite this, in March 2018 the border section of the railroad from Galaba (Uzbekistan) to Amuzang (Afghanistan) was reestablished by Uzbekistan and in March the first train departed from Kulyab, Tajikistan to Moscow.

Turkmenistan is trying to lobby for the construction of building a Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Tajikistan railroad, and has even completedconstruction of the section on its territory.

However, several experts had previously expressed doubts as to the rationale of this route due to the turbulent situation in Afghanistan.

Let us recall that since late August trucks from Iran and Turkey have been unable to cross the Turkmen border to deliver cargo to Tajikistan.

Source: Chronicles of Turkmenistan