Accidents decrease after ban on NATO supplies
MEHTARLAM (PAN): There has been a significant fall in traffic accidents on the Kabul-Torkham highway since Pakistan blocked the key supply route for NATO-led forces in Afghanistan last year, drivers and passengers say.
Islamabad halted supplies through its territory to the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) after 24 Pakistani soldiers were killed and 25 others wounded in a cross-border airstrike on the Salala check-post in the tribal district of Mohmand on November 26.
Before the ban, the Kabul-Torkahm highway witnessed traffic jams on a daily basis at the Mahipar Pass in Sarobi district of Kabul and Daronta area of Nangarhar. As a result, the situation would lead to traffic accidents due to the huge number of trucks and fuel tankers. But now the road remains open most of the time.
“Previously, we would reach Jalalabad from Kabul in 5 to 7 hours due to rush, but now the distance is easily covered within two hours,” a resident of the Behsud district in Nangarhar, Ikramullah Kakar, told Pajhwok Afghan News.
Another commuter, Jamal Ahmad, said the highway had been infamous for frequent crashes. However, he added, accidents on the route had remarkably decreased. Truckers used to drive recklessly that often led to accidents and highway closure, he recalled.
Muhibullah, a taxi driver, said his income had increased after heavy vehicles went off the highway in the wake of Pakistan banning NATO supply trucks.
Younus, another driver, said previously the Taliban would attack and torch trucks carrying fuel and other supplies for NATO-led troops, closing the highway for several hours.
Traffic accidents declined after supply convoys had stopped plying the road, agreed the highway commander for Laghman province, Maj. Safa Gul. The road would remain closed for several hours on a daily basis due to the convoys, he added.
Last year, he said, 243 people were killed and another 2,188 injured in traffic incidents on the highway. Without giving an exact figure, officials and drivers said the number of accidents had considerably fallen over the past four months.
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