The Afghan Government has commissioned China Metallurgical Group to conduct a feasibility study for a proposed rail link between Afghanistan, Pakistan and Uzbekistan.

The study for the 700km northern railway line is expected to take 30 months to complete.

The $5bn line is part of a wider plan to extend the Afghan rail network to connect Afghanistan to ports in Iran and Pakistan.

The line will be operational by 2015, according to The Times of India.