Pakistan, Uzbekistan and Afghanistan have signed a tripartite agreement to connect the three countries through a rail network.
The joint protocol for the Trans-Afghan project, which aims to connect Uzbekistan's and Pakistan's railway networks through Afghanistan, was signed in Pakistan's capital Islamabad on Tuesday in presence of "high-ranking" railway officials of the three countries, state-run Radio Pakistan reported.
In a tweet, Afghanistan's Railway Authority — run by the Taliban administration — also confirmed the development.
Pakistan's Finance Minister Ishaq Dar and Railway Minister Saad Rafiq also attended the signing ceremony.
As planned, the rail route will pass through Termiz, Uzbekistan, Afghanistan's Mazar-e-Sharif and Logar provinces, and culminate in Pakistan via the Kharlachi border crossing in the Kurram tribal district near the Afghan border.
The line will facilitate both passenger and freight services and "would contribute in regional trade and economic growth," said the protocol.
The project is scheduled to be completed by the end of 2027, and trains could carry up to 15 million tonnes of goods a year by 2030.
The 760-kilometre railroad is expected to reduce delivery times of cargo between Uzbekistan and Pakistan by about five days, aside from reducing the cost of goods transport by at least 40 percent, according to estimates.