Key highway reopens in Nuristan
PAROON (PAN): A key highway that connects Wama district with Paroon, the capital of eastern Nuristan province, was reopened for traffic days after it was blocked by the Taliban, officials said on Sunday.
The 25-kilometre highway was reopened on Saturday as a result of a clean-up operation, provincial police chief, Brig. Gen. Shamsur Rahman Nuristani, told Pajhwok Afghan News.
He said the Taliban had closed the road to infiltrate hundreds of militants into Paroon. The route blocked in Chitrash and Koshth areas was reopened after a four days operation, the police chief said.
Four militants were killed and as many wounded in clashes with security forces, Nuristani said, warning the insurgents continued to pose a serious threat to security on the road.
He appealed to central and provincial governments to conduct a major operation against the fighters to secure the highway up to Chapar Dara district in neighbouring Kunar province.
Deputy Governor Qazi Mohammad Nabi said the Taliban kept blocked a highway leading to Nuristan in the Goslak area of Chapar Dara district over the past two years. He added they had time and again asked the authorities in Kunar to take measures for reopening the road, but in vain.
He said the situation had led to severe food shortages in Paroon, where five kilograms of sugar accounted for 1,100 Pakistani rupees.
However, a Taliban spokesman, Zabihullah Mujahid, said the blockade was aimed to halt supplies to military bases and government offices. The Kunar-Nuristan highway has seen a string of robberies and Taliban attacks in recent months.
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