Six members of the Afghan security forces have been killed by a roadside bomb near the site of a railway that is being built to link eastern Iran with Afghanistan's western province of Herat.
Herat's provincial governor, Wahid Qatali, said those who were killed had been guarding the site of the railway line in Ghoryan district. The Afghanistan Railway Authority confirmed the May 29 attack on the Iranian-Afghan infrastructure project. When completed, the 225-kilometer-long cross-border railway is meant to link the Iranian city of Khaf with the western Afghan city of Herat. The first three sections, spanning a combined length of 140 kilometers, were inaugurated in December 2020 when a test freight train transported 500 tons of cement between Iran's Khaf station in Iran and Rozanak station in western Afghanistan.
Work under way within Afghanistan on the last 43-kilometer section of the railway is meant to be completed by mid-2022 -- passing through the districts of Ghoryan, Zenda Jan, and Enjeel to reach Rabat Paryan in the Kushk district before heading to Herat.
The construction project is managed by the Railways of the Islamic Republic of Iran (RAI) and the Afghanistan Railway Authority (ARA). Tehran plans to extend its section of the railway to Iran's southern port city of Chabahar, allowing Afghanistan to improve its trade through connections to Central Asia, Russia, Turkey, and Europe.
Elsewhere in Afghanistan, at least seven people were killed late on May 29 when a mortar shell struck a wedding party in the northeastern province of Kapisa. Reports say the mortar shell exploded in the province's contested district of Tagab during skirmishes between Taliban militants and Afghan government forces. Both sides blamed each other. Earlier on May 29, at least four people were killed and 11 others wounded when a roadside bomb struck a minibus that was carrying students and university lecturers in the northern province of Parwan.