US Embassy in Afghanistan, Press Releases 2007,

August 26,2007, Secretary Gutierrez Opened Afghanistan - Tajikistan Bridge with Presidents Karzai and Rahmon,

Vital Link Will Connect Afghans and Tajiks to Regional and World Markets, Stimulate Trade and Economic Prosperity in the Region

DUSHANBE, TAJIKISTAN – On behalf of the American people and President Bush, U.S. Commerce Secretary Carlos M. Gutierrez today joined Tajik President Emomali Rahmon and Afghan President Hamid Karzai at a ribbon cutting ceremony to dedicate a massive new bridge that links two critical U.S. partners, restores historical connections between two neighboring regions, and promotes development, opportunity and hope.

 “The bridge is an example of America’s commitment to help the people of Central and South Asia find peace, stability and prosperity,” said Gutierrez. “The Afghanistan – Tajikistan Bridge is a critical transit route for trade and commerce. Trade is a pillar of economic growth and prosperity. Trade builds businesses and employs people. Trade encourages entrepreneurship and innovation. Countries at all stages of development rely on trade to advance their economic prospects.”

Spanning the Pyanzh River, the bridge will boost economic development and help reduce poverty on both sides of the border by increasing regional trade and investment, and stimulating small and medium-sized businesses and farms. With a capacity of up to 1,000 vehicles daily, it will help connect a regional highway eventually extending from Karachi, Pakistan to Astana, Kazakhstan, including a network of more than 4,000 kilometers (2485.4 miles) of roads within Afghanistan that have been constructed or reconstructed since 2001.

Designed by the Army Corps of Engineers, the bridge was funded by the United States with a major contribution by Norway.  Since January 2006, over 450 Tajiks and Afghans worked together daily to build this structure. Workers from the Philippines, Thailand, India, Russia, Europe, Africa and North America provided their construction expertise.

Tajikistan’s economy offers new opportunities.  U.S. companies have been active in Tajikistan’s numerous sectors including telecom, mining, food processing, oil exploration and cotton.  The country’s strong potential as a major hydropower producer also offers promising opportunities for power generation and electricity exports to Afghanistan and Pakistan. The Secretary was also joined by Assistant Secretary for Bureau of South and Central Asian Affairs Richard A. Boucher, U.S. Ambassador to the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan William B. Wood, and U.S. Ambassador to the Republic of Tajikistan Tracey Ann Jacobson.