Russia eager to renovate Salang tunnel
Kabul, October 15, 2006 (Pajhwok Afghan News) - Foreign Minister Dr Rangin Dadfar Spanta on Sunday said Russia had shown interest in renovation and reconstruction of the Salang Tunnel and the mining sector in Afghanistan.
Spanta was speaking to journalists after his visit to Poland, Turkey and Russia. He said resumption of reconstruction work on the key tunnel, linking the central capital Kabul with the northern provinces, was an important project. The tunnel was first constructed by the then Soviet Union in the 1980s.
Spanta said besides the construction of the tunnel project, Russians were also interested in investment in mining sector of the country. "Russia want to cooperate with Afghanistan in economic sector in the framework of free market system," said the minister, who spent three days in Russia during his tour of three countries.
He said Russian investors had been informed about the investment-friendly environment in Afghanistan and were assured that they would face no problem to invest there.
He said the Russian authorities also assured of their cooperation in training, equipping and strengthening of Afghan police and military. Russia has already pledged $170 million in aid to Afghanistan's reconstruction during the Tokyo Conference in 2002 in addition to the $50 million pledged for training of the Afghan National Army (ANA).
In Ankara, Turkey, Spanta said his Turkish counterpart had assured him of full support in the fight against drugs.
Turkey has contributed 618 soldiers to the peacekeeping mission of NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in Afghanistan.