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Afghanistan Betting on Transit Corridor to Europe via Caucasus

The inaugural voyage on the new Afghanistan-Turkmenistan railway, launched last year. The railway will be part of the proposed Lapis Lazuli Corridor, connecting Afghanistan to Turkey and beyond. (photo: Afghanistan Embassy in Ashgabat)

Eurasia has no shortage of ambitious, difficult-to-implement transit route projects in the works. But even in that crowded field, a $2 billion corridor connecting Afghanistan to Europe via the Caspian Sea and the Caucasus stands out.

On November 15, officials from Afghanistan, Turkmenistan, Azerbaijan, Georgia, and Turkey signed an agreement in Ashgabat to build what they called the Lapis Lazuli Corridor. The aim of the agreement is to simplify customs and transportation procedures along the route, giving Afghanistan a new, relatively attractive route to ship its products to Europe. 

For Afghanistan, landlocked and surrounded a variety of difficult neighbors, the advantages are obvious. “Afghanistan will get rid of economic and transit dependency which has always caused suffering,” economic affairs analyst Abdul Wase Haidari told Afghan news service TOLO news.

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Afghanistan Betting on Transit Corridor to Europe via Caucasus

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