Turkmenistan surprised by Tajikistan’s rollback on railroad

ASHGABAT, Turkmenistan (AP) — A railroad project in Central Asia is apparently up in the air, with Turkmenistan saying that a Tajik envoy’s statement apparently backtracking on the project is incomprehensible.

Tajik Ambassador to Uzbekistan Imom Sodiq Ashourboyzoda said this week that his country has decided to indefinitely postpone building the railroad linking it with Turkmenistan via Afghanistan. The ambassador said the plan is no longer feasible because of an improvement in ties with its ex-Soviet neighbor, Uzbekistan.

Turkmenistan’s Foreign Ministry said Saturday it formally notified Tajikistan that it doesn’t understand the statement.

The ex-Soviet nations of Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan and Tajikistan all border Afghanistan to the north.

The stretch of the railroad linking Turkmenistan and Afghanistan was opened in 2016. Turkmenistan had hoped the 88-kilometer (55-mile) line would be extended east to Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan and onward to China.

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