Khost-Gardez highway reopens after rockslide
GARDEZ (Pajhwok): The Khost-Gardez highway reopened for traffic in southeastern Paktia province on Friday noon, hours after it was blocked by a massive rockslide, an official said.
The highway was blocked by massive debris at around 5am, leaving hundreds of passenger and goods carrying vehicles stranded in the Khwak district, local officials said earlier in the day.
However, provincial Traffic Department head Col. Gulab Khan told Pajhwok Afghan News in the afternoon that officials of the Public Works Department and others concerned authorities had been able to remove the rocks in 10 hours using heavy machinery.
He said the officials concerned were now busy organizing the movement of traffic on the highway.
Earlier, local officials said huge rocks and other debris slid down the side of a mountain in Sato Kandaw area in the morning, blocking the highway.
Deputy governor Abdul Wali Sahi told Pajhwok Afghan News they were trying to dispatch the required machinery to remove the debris and clear the road for traffic.
However, he did not say if they had measured the size of the rubble or when the road is expected to be cleared.
Meanwhile, passengers stranded in the area told Pajhwok Afghan News over the telephone that they faced numerous problems, which could multiply if the road remained blocked.
One of them, Hafeezullah, who left Kabul for Khost, said a large number of vehicles with hundreds of passengers were stranded in the area.
He said the passengers included women, children and patients who lacked food, water and faced so many other problems. He said so far no official and equipment to clear the road had reached the scene.
Construction work on the Khost-Gardez highway has been ongoing over the past six month and so far a 70 kilometres of the road had been built.
Residents of Paktia and Khost have repeatedly carried out protests and organized gatherings to press for early completion of work on the highway but no to avail.
The highway is notorious for blockades during winter due to bad weather conditions.
Download “Pajhwok” mobile App, on your smartphone to read and access latest news, features, interviews, videos and photos about Afghanistan.