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Tajikistan Road Corridors to Afghanistan

There are three viable corridors through Tajikistan that compare favorably overall with the existing rail corridor through Uzbekistan to Khairaton, Afghanistan based on current Uzbek railway tariffs. 

For further information on Customs in Tajikistan, please see the following link: 1.3 Tajikistan Customs Information

For contact information for Tajikistan Government contacts, please see the following link: 4.1 Tajikistan Government Contact List

Khujand – Nijny Pyanj  -  Kunduz

Route

Sariagash, Kazakhstan- Uzbekistan - Khujand – Dushanbe – Nijny Pyanj, Tajikistan / Shehon Bandar, Afghanistan (border) – Kunduz, Afghanistan


Total distance

839 km

Sariagash to Kunduz

Transport mode

Rail from Baltic or Black Sea ports, or from within Kazakhstan or Russia across Uzbekistan to Khujand province. Truck from Khujand to Nijny Pyanj and points within Afghanistan.

 n/a

Transport time

1.5 days

7 days transit in Uzbekistan

Per ton transport cost

$85 per ton ($32 rail Sariagash – Khujand / $53 by truck to Nijny Pyanj

Sariagash to Nijny Pyanj / Shehon Bandar

This corridor involves railroad movement from Kazakhstan and transiting through Uzbekistan as far as Khujand province in northern Tajikistan. Rail transport 350 km from Sariagash on the Kazakhstan – Uzbekistan border is $32 per mt. At Spitamen or another station in Khujand province wheat from Kazakhstan is offloaded from hopper wagons either for bulk storage in silos or is transloaded in bulk in 30 to 35 mt trucks for movement southwards. Thanks to new tunnels and avalanche galleries, the toll highway over the two mountain passes from Khujand to Dushanbe (320 km) is now open year-round. Per mt trucking rates are $35 to Dushanbe. Onward movement another 200 km to Nijny Pyanj is only another $10 per mt due to the lack of tolls or high mountain passes.  

From Dushanbe wheat or wheat flour can also be transported by truck via Kulyab to Khorog / Ishkashim in the Pamirs on the Afghanistan border. Favorable trucking rates from Dushanbe to ($30 per mt) should be possible due to the large number of 25 to 40 mt trucks returning empty via this route to China particularly in summer when there is high demand for building materials. 

Distances from Khujand to Nijny Pyanj (km) 

 

Sariyagash 

Spitamen 

Khujand 

Dushanbe 

Kurgan-Tyube 

Nijny Pyanj 

Kunduz 

Sariyagash 

 - 

320 

356 

646 

742 

839 

899 

Spitamen 

320 

-  

36 

313 

412 

519 

579 

Khujand 

356 

36 

-  

341 

440 

547 

607 

Dushanbe 

646 

313 

341 

-  

99 

206 

266 

Kurgan-Tyube 

742 

412 

440 

99 

-  

106 

166 

Nijny Pyanj 

839 

519 

547 

206 

106 

-  

60 

Kunduz 

899 

579 

607 

266 

166 

60 

-  

Bishkek – Osh –Nijny Pyanj or Ishkashim

Route 

Bishkek – Osh, Kyrgyzstan – Karamik pass, Tajikistan – Nijny Pyanj 

 

Total distance 

n/a 

Bishkek – Nijny Pyanj 

Transport mode 

Rail from Baltic or Black Sea ports, or from within Kazakhstan or Russia. Truck to Osh and to Tajikistan / Afghanistan 

n/a 

Transport time 

3 days (approx.) 

n/a  

Transport cost per mt 

 n/a 

n/a  

The Bishkek – Osh route completely bypasses Uzbekistan. It involves rail transport across Kazakhstan as far as Bishkek in northern Kyrgyzstan where there is modern and sufficient wheat storage and milling capacity among private companies. Wheat and other goods are moved on a good highway over mountain passes 672 km to Osh in southern Kyrgyzstan and then into Tajikistan via Karamik pass and through the Rasht valley where much highway improvement is going on and which is open year-round. The highway to Nijny Pyanj bypasses Dushanbe 20 km to the east goes through Kurgan Tyube. 
From Osh via a mountain pass further east commodity can also be trucked through the Pamirs via Murghab to Khorog and Ishkashim on the Afghanistan border with bridge crossings. This corridor was mostly used during the 1980s and 1990s by Russia to supply some regions of Afghanistan. Today truck traffic from Kyrgyzstan via this corridor is very light amounting to just a few trucks per month.  
According to Ministry of Transport officials, to avoid the high railroad tariffs for transit through Uzbekistan, the US government used the Bishkek – Osh – Tajikistan - Afghanistan corridor for movement of 450 mt of non-military supplies.  
 
Around 2004 or 2005, WFP moved goods by rail from Riga to Osh, Uzbekistan and by truck through Murghab to Khorog and into Afghanistan via Ishkashim to a WFP storage facility there at the time. 

Distances from Bishkek to Nijny Pyanj (km) 

 

Bishkek 

Osh 

Karamik 

Vakhdat / Dushanbe 

Kurgan-Tyube 

Lower Pyanj 

Kunduz 

Bishkek 

 - 

631 

961 

1293 

1404 

1510 

1570 

Osh 

631 

-  

303 

662 

773 

879 

939 

Karamik 

961 

303 

-  

374 

561 

642 

702 

Vakhdat / Dushanbe 

1293 

662 

374 

-  

187 

269 

329 

Kurgan-Tyube 

1404 

773 

561 

187 

-  

82 

142 

Nijny Pyanj 

1510 

879 

635 

269 

82 

-  

60 

Kunduz 

1570 

939 

695 

329 

142 

60 

-  

Kashgar, China – Nijny Pyanj/ Shehon Bandar

Route 

Kashgar – Kulma (border) – Murghab – Khorog – Kulyab – Nijny Pyanj - Kunduz 

 

Total distance 

1200 km 

3 mountain passes > 4100m 

Transport mode 

By rail to Kashgar or Urumchi. 25 to 40 mt Dulon trucks the entire distance or by 60 mt Fura trucks from Kashgar to 

terminals either in Murghab or at Tang 30 km before Khorog for transloading into 25 to 40 mt Dulon trucks.  

There are regular freight trains from Chinese ports to Urumchi taking about 5 days. 

Transport time 

3 -5 days 

Depends on border delays and winter road conditions but will get shorter. 

Transport cost per mt 

$110 (from Urumchi $190) 

$0.09 per km per mt 


The railroad connecting Xinjiang with deep sea ports in eastern China ends in Kashgar. There is a good highway on the Chinese side to the border and a Chinese company is currently improving the highway from the border crossing at Kulma to Murghab in the Pamirs (91 km). A new customs terminal is being built at Kulmawhich will reduce waits at the border (currently up to 8 hours). 
Trucks carrying 60 mt move goods to two different terminals in the Pamirs: Murghab and Tang (30 km northeast of Khorog). Tajik trucks of 25 or 40 mt capacity receive goods transloaded at these terminals for movement to Dushanbe via Khorog. Trucking time from Kashgar to Khorog is about 3 days. From Khorog to Nijny Pyanj it requires one long day per interviews with truck drivers.  
Other Tajikistan transportation companies send their 25 to 40 mt trucks to Kashgar or even to Urumchi. The round trip takes about 10 days in winter including loading in Kashgar and waiting time at the border. Highway improvements have reduced the turnaround time from 14 days four years ago. Continuing roadwork on various sections of the route by Chinese, Iranian and Turkish companies, particularly from Khorog to Kulyab will reduce the trucking time by at least another day. 
Tajikistan’s largest trucking company, Sorbonotrans, is a major carrier from Urumchi and Kashgar. There is one Tajikistan trucking company, Tojiron, that moves Chinese goods in transit from Kashgar across Tajikistan to Nijny Pyanj. This company reportedly does about 15 trucks of 40 mt per month.  
Truck volumes have increased in the last year or more and should increase even more with the completion of roadwork and the new customs terminal. 
Relatively few goods move from China to Afghanistan via this route since the main Chinese supply route is over the Karakorum pass through Pakistan to Kabul. 
The Kulma border point is closed to international travelers for entry into China but it could be opened once roadwork and the new customs terminal is completed. 

Distances from Urumchi to Lower Pyanj (km) 

 

Urumchi 

Kashgar 

Kulma 

Murghab 

Khorog 

Kulyab 

Nijny Pyanj 

Kunduz 

Ishkashim 

Urumchi 

 - 

1000 

1249 

1340 

1651 

2079 

2200 

2260 

1685 

Kashgar 

1000 

-  

249 

340 

651 

1079 

1200 

1260 

685 

Kulma 

1249 

249 

-  

91 

402 

807 

928 

988 

436 

Murghab 

1340 

340 

91 

-  

311 

719 

840 

900 

345 

Khorog 

1651 

651 

402 

311 

-  

428 

529 

589 

106 

Kulyab 

2079 

1079 

807 

719 

428 

-  

121 

181 

534 

Nijny Pyanj 

2200 

1200 

928 

840 

529 

121 

-  

60 

655 

Kunduz 

2260 

1260 

988 

940 

629 

221 

100 

-  

715 

Ishkashim 

1685 

685 

436 

345 

106 

534 

655 

715 

-  

Tajikistan – Afghanistan border crossings

Tajik crossing point 

Afghan point 

Afghan road connection 

Comments 

Nijny PyanjKhatlon province 

Shehon Bandar, Kunduz province 

60 km south to Kunduz 

90% of Tajik – Afghan trade and crossings 

FarkhorKhatlon province 

Tahak province 

 n/a 

River ferry only 

Shurobad, GBAO 

Badakshan province 

Limited access only to local villages 

Not yet open.  Used by Aga Khan Focus for delivery of WFP food 

Darvaz (Kalaikhum), GBAO 

Badakshan province 

Limited access only to local villages 

A few trucks per week to Afghanistan for trade. Saturday cross border market. 

Vanj / Tem, GBAO 

Badakshan province 

Limited access to local villages 

Not yet open.  Used by Aga Khan Focus for delivery of WFP food 

Khorog, GBAO 

Badakshan province 

 n/a 

A few trucks per week to Afghanistan for trade. Saturday cross border market. 

Ishkashim, GBAO 

IshkashimBadakshan province 

168 km west to Faizabad, Badakshan province 

Very limited transit trade from China and Kyrgyzstan.  Saturday cross border market. 

There are four official border crossing points at bridges over the Pyanj River between Afghanistan and Tajikistan, and one river ferry crossing. There are two additional bridges activation of the border crossing currently pending. Only two of these, Nijny Pyanj to the west and Ishkashim to the east in the Pamirs have sufficient road connections for movement of goods to population centers and the main road network within Afghanistan.  
The other four crossing points are at bridges built over the Pyanj River near KhorogVanjDarvaz and ShurobadVanj and Shurobad bridge crossings have not yet opened though all customs facilities have been built. Only Aga Khan Focus is given to access to these two border crossings to deliver WFP food aid hauled in transit across Tajikistan after entering from Nijny Pyanj or Ishkashim. These four bridge border crossings service only local areas isolated from the rest of Afghanistan’s road network. 
Over 90% of trade between Tajikistan and Afghanistan is via Nijny Pyanj and Shehon Bandar crossing borders which is linked by a good highway through the Khatlon Valley with Dushanbe and within Afghanistan to Kunduz 60 km to the south. In 2004 the United States built a bridge at this crossing point to replace the river ferry as well as funding modern customs facilities on both sides of the border including a truck scanner on the Tajik side.  
There is a certain volume of goods from other countries that transit Tajikistan to the Nijny Pyanj / Shehon Bandar entry point. Monthly from 15 to 20 trucks of 25 to 40 mt operated by a single Tajik company, Tojiron arrive in Kunduz and beyond from China via the Kashgar – Murghab – Khorog – Kulyab corridor. There is an indeterminate amount of transit traffic from Kyrgyzstan and via Khujand province in the north.  
Ishkashim crossing has much smaller volumes of trade moving from Tajikistan. Chinese goods reach most of Afghanistan via the Karakorum pass through Pakistan and to Kabul so there are few if any large trucks transiting Tajikistan to Afghanistan via Ishkashim. The road from Ishkashim to Faisabad in Afghanistan still needs much improvement. It has been closed in 2013 and 2014 to personnel of international organizations due to security concerns. 
There is transit movement of humanitarian goods, mainly food supplied by WFP, from Faizabad, Afghanistan via Ishakashim and from Mazar Sherif via Nijny Pyanj to the Pamir region of Tajikistan for reentry into Afghanistan across the bridges at Khorog and Darvaz.

Corridor Mountain passes 

Kashgar – Nijny Pyanj via Murghab

Pass

Elevation

Between

Comments

Ulugrabotdavron

4098

Kashgar- Murghab

 n/a

Kulma

4362

Kashgar – Murghab

 n/a

Chaman Tol

3400

Murghab- Khorog

 n/a

Nayzatosh

4314

Murghab- Khorog

 n/a

Tagharqaqi

3800

Murghab- Khorog

 approximate

Kuytezak

4271

Murghab- Khorog

 n/a

Haburabot

3252

Darvaz- Dushanbe

Alternate route

Shuroobad

2200

Darvaz - Kulyab

approximate

Shar-Shar

2223

Kulyab – Dushanbe

 n/a

Chormaghzak

4430

Kulyab – Dushanbe

Alternate route

Kashgar – Kyrgyzstan – Karamik - Nijny Pyanj 

Pass

Elevation

Between

Comments

Touymorun

3536

Kashgar - Karamik

 n/a

Karamik

4100

Karamik- Vakhdat

approximate evaluation

Shar-Shar

2223

Kulyab – Dushanbe

 n/a

Chormaghzak

4430

Kulyab – Dushanbe

 n/a

Bishkek-  Karamik – Nijny Pyanj

Pass

Elevation

Between

Comments

Too Assu

3586

Bishkek – Osh

n/a

Ala Bel

3184

Bishkek – Osh

n/a

Karamik

4100

Karamik- Vakhdat

approximate evaluation

Shar-Shar

2223

Kulyab – Dushanbe

n/a

Chormaghzak

4430

Kulyab – Dushanbe

n/a

Khujand – Nijny Pyanj

Pass

Elevation

Between

Comments

Shakhristan

3378

Khujand - Aini

n/a

Anzob

3372

Aini - Dushanbe

n/a

Fakhrobod

1247

Dushanbe – Kurgantyube

n/a

Bishkek – Murghab  - Khorog

Pass

Elevation

Between

Comments

Too Assu

3586

Bishkek – Osh

 n/a

Ala Bel

3184

Bishkek – Osh

 n/a

Chigirchik

2406

Osh – Murghab

 n/a

Taldik

3615

Osh – Murghab

 n/a

Kyzil Art

4280

Osh – Murghab

 n/a

Oqbaital

4655

Osh – Murghab

 n/a

Border Crossing Location and Contact 

Name of Border Crossing 

 

Tajikistan  

Country #1Tajikistan  
Country #2: Afghanistan  

Province or District 

Khorog  

Nearest Town or City with Distance from Border Crossing 

Khorog 200 Km 

 

Travel Times 

Nearest International Airport 

Khorog 

Distance in km 200 

Truck Travel Time: 12 hrs 

Car Travel time: hrs 

 

Hours of Operation 

Mondays 

8:00 – 17:00  

Tuesdays 

8:00 – 17:00  

Wednesdays 

8:00 – 17:00  

Thursdays 

8:00 – 17:00  

Fridays 

8:00 – 17:00  

Saturdays 

8:00 – 17:00  

Sundays 

8:00 – 17:00  

Seasonal Constraints  

Winter months December to March, rainy season, etc. 

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