• The 912 miles-long railway network will cover 37 districts and 800 villages in Afghanistan
  • It is expected to boost the economy and also increase regional transit and transfers through the country
  • The first section of the two-phase project is expected to commence this year

Afghanistan's ruling Taliban is rolling out an ambitious plan to establish a railway network that would not only improve regional connectivity but also connect East Asia with Iran, Turkey and Europe through Afghanistan, according to a report.

The network is slated to be a boost for the economy and also aims at creating the shortest route between India and Russia through Afghanistan. The Mazar-e-Sharif-Herat-Kandahar Railway Project has been approved by Afghanistan's Economic Commission, according to a Monday statement from the office of the deputy prime minister for economic affairs, Anadolu Agency reported.

The estimated cost of the railway network was not mentioned, but the project would be funded with domestic revenue, the statement said. Preliminary work for the project will reportedly commence soon.

The railway network, which will stretch over 912 miles (1,468 kilometers), will pass through nine Afghan provinces, covering 37 districts and 800 villages.

In addition to this, the Mazar-e-Sharif-Herat-Kandahar Railway Project is also aimed at increasing regional transit and transfers through the country. The plan includes railway networks that would connect Russia and Central Asia with South Asia and the seaports through Afghanistan.

Connectivity between Iran's Chabahar and Bandar Abbas ports, as well as Pakistan's Karachi and Gwadar ports, will also increase.

Another aim of the railway project is to create the "shortest and most economical" route between Moscow and New Delhi through Afghanistan.

The project is reportedly underway even as the Taliban's regime continues to be unrecognized by other governments; some countries have engaged in diplomatic engagement but not gone beyond.

The statement revealed that the project is divided into two phases. The first phase, which is expected to start this year, will cover the Mazar-e-Sharif-Herat section and will spread over more than 408 miles.

The second section will originate from Herat and make its way through Nimrouz, Farah, Helmand and Kandahar. This 504 miles-long section would conclude at the Spin Bouldak district of Kandahar.

"According to the economic and technical studies, and taking into account the transit value, the value of the estimated transfer and the revenue, the work on the first phase of the project will commence this year," the statement concluded.

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Russian President Vladimir Putin and India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi attend a signing ceremony following their meeting at the Kremlin in Moscow on Dec. 24, 2015. ALEXANDER NEMENOV/AFP/Getty Images