Five Nations Railway Corridor

Five Nations Railway Corridor

(China, Kyrgyz Rep., Tajikistan, Afghanistan, & Iran)

The Five Nations Railway Corridor aims to increase regional commerce and spur job creation along with larger trade volumes. This project connects China on one end and Iran on the other over a total distance of 2,100 kilometers, traversing the countries of the Kyrgyz Republic, Tajikistan, and Afghanistan in the process. Over one thousand kilometers of the rail corridor will stretch through the Afghan provinces of Herat, Badghis, Faryab, Jawozjan, Balkh and Kunduz. The wider economic impact on trade and transit will be sizable, including opportunities to invest in spurs and spinoff projects. The Afghan section of the rail line will be partially funded by the ADB and improve Afghanistan’s access to the Iranian ports of Chabahar and Bandar Abbas, providing ample opportunity for another order of magnitude of trade expansion. In addition, via Turkey and Iran the Five Nations Railway Corridor will connect the Common-wealth of Independent States countries to Europe. Afghanistan is well situated to amass sizable economic benefits at the heart of this critical Eurasian rail corridor as it comes on line.


Complements to Other Regionally Sponsored Railway Network Development Plans

# Railway Project Length (KM) Project Status
Prefeasibility Study Feasibility Study Detail Design & Construction
1 Khaf – Herat, 4th Section, Phase-1 43 Completed Completed Plan
2 Sherkhan Bandar – Kunduz - Mazar-e-Sharif 187 Completed Completed Plan
3 Mazar-e-Sharif – Sheberghan – Andkhoy 220 Completed Completed Plan
4 Sheberghan – Maimana – Qala-e-Naw – Kushk 472 Completed Ongoing Plan
5 Khaf – Herat 3rd Section 62 Completed Completed Ongoing
6 Torghundi – Herat Airport 173 Completed Completed Plan

Current Status

The Five Nations Railway Corridor has been discussed under the Economic Cooperation Organization (ECO). Overall progress is steady, as a range feasibility studies for the Afghan portion have been completed, including a preliminary design for an initial 654 kilometer segment passing through Afghanistan, and negotiations on financing are also moving forward. Five out of six feasibility studies are complete (see table below). Most significant, multiple construction elements of the corridor are to be completed, including the Fourth Section of Khaf—Herat (Ghorian–Robat Paryan) (43km);  Kolkhozobod-Panji Poyen (Tajikistan, 50 km); the detail design and commencement of construction of Sherkhan Bandar-Kunduz-Mazar-i-Sharif (187 km); the detail design and commencement of construction of the Mazar-i-Sharif - Shiberghan (170km) line; and the feasibility study and commencement of detail design and construction of the Sheberghan—Maimane—Qala-e-Now— Kushk (472 km). The Five Nations Railway Corridor is poised to help advance Afghan Government’s National Infrastructure Plan.

Budget & Funding Status Current project estimates exceed USD $2 billion
Institutional Partners China (including the Bank of China), the Kyrgyz Republic, Tajikistan, Afghanistan, Iran, the ADB, World Bank, and United States

Recommended Actions by RECCA-VII and Beyond:

  • It is critical for the five partner nations to maintain momentum by entering into discussions with potential financing partners (public and private) for the Afghanistan segment of the rail corridor.
  • Over the near-term (6-12 months), the feasibility study and preliminary design need to be completed for the initial 654 kilometer segment of the total 1148 kilometers to traverse Afghanistan.
  • Over the medium-term (1-3 years), construction should be completed of the full Afghanistan section (1148 kilometers) and other segments of the Five Nations Railway Corridor.