DUSHANBE, October 26, Asia-Plus - Another bridge across the Panj River, which will consolidate permanent overland links between Tajikistan and Afghanistan will be officially opened in the Ishkashim district of Gorno Badakhshan at the end of this month.  

According to he Ministry of Transport (MoT), President Rahmonov and His Highness the Aga Khan, Imam (spiritual leader) of the Ismaili Muslims, who will arrive in Tajikistan week, as well as high-ranking Afghan state officials will participate in the bridge-inaugurating ceremony in Ishkashim.  

A source at MoT said that reconstruction of the 99.3-meter long bridge having 4.5 meters wide that started in the autumn last year increased the bridge carrying capacity from 10 tons to 30 tons.   

It is the third in a series of bridges to be constructed across the Panj River in Gorno Badakhshan.  This US$350,100 project, undertaken by the Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN) in cooperation with the governments of Tajikistan and Afghanistan will strengthen commercial links and relations between Tajikistan and Afghanistan.  

The first bridge connecting Tem in Tajikistan and Demorgan in Afghanistan was opened in November 2002.  The second Tajik-Afghan bridge was constructed and opened in the Darvoz district in July 2004.