Rehabilitation of the 92-kilometer road Qalai Khumb – Vanj – Rushan administrative border in the Gorno Badakhshan Autonomous Region, or GBAO, will contribute to further development of multimodal transport corridor connecting China, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Iran and Turkiye, the Minister of Transport of Tajikistan Azim Ibrohim stated at the first meeting of the Working Group on the multimodal transport corridor Tajikistan-Uzbekistan-Turkmenistan-Iran-Turkiye that took place in Dushanbe on September 21, according to the Ministry of Transport (MoT) press center. 

The minister, in particular, noted that one of the important issues of development of that corridor was digitalization of transit documents / procedures.  

According to him, connecting Turkiye, Iran, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan to China through Tajikistan contributes to revival of the Great Silk Road and development of regional economic integration.  

The parties reportedly discussed the development of the international transit corridor, which will help increase cargo transportation and simplify trade procedures, especially for landlocked countries. 

Recall, senior officials from Tajikistan and Iran attended the inauguration ceremony in October last year held in Dushanbe of the first freight train from Tajikistan to Turkey, which began its journey through Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, and Iran.

The opening ceremony of the multimodal transport corridor along Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Iran, and Turkey’s territories, was organized by the Ministry of Transport of Tajikistan and attended by senior officials from the mentioned countries as well as by transport companies, businessmen, and transport officials.

Rehabilitation of the Qalai Khumb-Vanj road includes construction of two tunnels with a total length of 5.2 kilometers, a 490-meter gallery and 15 bridges with a total length of 634 meters that will reduce the length of the road to 90 kilometers. 

In a statement delivered at a joint meeting of both chambers of parliament, President Emomali Rahmon noted on December 21, 2021 that the Rushan-Khorog-Kulma road, which is the key section of the highway connecting Dushanbe, Khorog and Kulma Pass, will be rehabilitated within the next five years (2022-2026). 

A total length of the Dushanbe-Khorog-Kulma is 1,008 kilometers.

The Kulma-Qarasou border crossing point (BCP) is the only overland border crossing along the 450-kilometer boundary between Tajikistan’s GBAO and China’s Xinjiang Autonomous Region, or XUAR.  

Opened in 2004, the Tajik-China trade route runs from GBAO’s capital, Khorog, over a high-altitude plateau and then down into China, where it ends in the city of Kashgar, 700 kilometers away.

The Kulma Pass is a mountain pass across the Pamir Mountains on the border between Tajikistan’s GBAO and China’s XUAR.  Asian Highway AH66 runs through the pass.

The pass opens from the north to the southeast, and is 500 m wide from north to south and 1 km in length from east to west with a gentle incline not exceeding 20 degrees.  On the Tajik side, the pass is 80 km by road to Murgab.  On the Chinese side, the pass is 13.9 km from Qarasou, a port of entry on the Karakorum Highway, which leads to Tashkurgan (60–70 km) and Kashgar (220 km).