Countries of Central Asia intend to build logistics hub in Afghanistan

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Afghanistan, Kazakhstan, and Turkmenistan plan to build a logistics hub in Herat province, Eurasia Today reports.

This hub will facilitate the export of Russian oil to South Asia by rail. Such developments could encourage Russia and Pakistan to sign a strategic energy deal.

Acting Minister of Industry and Trade of Afghanistan, Nuruddin Azizi, stated that he hopes to soon sign a transit agreement with Russia, Pakistan, and Turkmenistan.

Afghan Herat is already connected by a new railway to the Iranian border town of Khaf, and along this route, Russian oil and other goods can reach Iranian ports in the Persian Gulf and then be transferred to maritime transport. This is part of the "North-South" transport corridor being developed by Russia.

"A logistics hub will be built in Herat province with investments from Afghanistan, Kazakhstan, and Turkmenistan at the intersection of trade routes in the North-South Asia corridor," said Azizi, noting that through this center in western Afghanistan, Russia can deliver oil to Pakistan and other South Asian countries.

According to him, the initial annual traffic of hydrocarbons through the Herat transport hub could be 1 million tons.

Azizi said that Afghanistan has also held talks with China about establishing a trade transport route between the two countries through the high-altitude Wakhan Corridor, specifying that it could be used to deliver Chinese goods to Iran via Afghan territory.

Meanwhile, there arises an unpleasant question of how India will react to such an energy alliance between Russia and Pakistan.

Pakistan is a long-time adversary of India. Moreover, India is currently a very significant partner for Russia, purchasing up to 30% of its oil exports.

Good relations with India outweigh Russia's relations with Pakistan. So the option of transiting Russian goods through Afghan territory to Iran, rather than to Pakistan, looks preferable for now.

May 23, 2024