|History and Biodata
Pakistan has started work on a project to lay a railway line from its border town of Chaman to Afghanistan’s Spin Boldak.
The 11km track could prove the first step towards a rail network that is to be extended to Kandahar and would realize a century-old dream dating back to the Raj era. Even after Pakistan was founded 74 years ago, efforts were made to build the Chaman-Spin Boldak track, but in vain. Now, Pakistan Railways officials have started work on the proposed railway track. The construction material is being transported to the area to lay the track which will extend to the zero line. Pakistan Railways officials said that the rails would soon be laid on the sleepers. The most recent effort to construct the Chaman-Spin Boldak line was launched last December (2020) when Railways Minister Sheikh Rasheed Ahmed announced the revival of the project. Speaking to journalists in Peshawar, he said Pakistan was preparing the PC-1 for the project after completing a survey. The announcement was made before the Taliban took over Afghanistan in August 2021. During the 20 year rule of Hamid Karzai and Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai governments in Afghanistan, Pakistan pushed for the railway track to connect Quetta with Kandahar. The feasibility was completed in 2010. In August 2013, then Afghan President Hamid Karzai visited Pakistan and Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif announced that not only Chaman-Spin Boldak but also Torkham-Jalalabad rail link would be established. While the Torkham-Jalalabad link is a different story, the Chaman-Kandahar rail network always carried greater strategic significance. Pakistan’s British-era rail network ends at Chaman. Kandahar lies at a distance of about 110km from that point.