The Rise of the Afghan Rails: Regional Railway Linkages and Economic Growth in Afghanistan

Report
from NATO Civil-Military Fusion Centre
Published on 12 Mar 2013

Transportation infrastructure in general, and a reliable railway network in particular, are indispensable to Afghanistan’s economic development and its ability to participate in intra-regional trade. Despite this need and notable improvements in the last years, Afghan railway infrastructure remains significantly underdeveloped with less than 100 km of track built to date. A discovery of massive mineral deposits in Afghanistan adds to the immediate relevance of the railway system, given that rails are necessary to transport the minerals out of the country. Consequently, the lack of railroads may complicate a long-term goal to harness Afghanistan’s mineral endowment as a key driver of Afghanistan’s economic growth when foreign aid diminishes in the coming years.