Kabul-Kandahar highway in need of reconstruction
QALAT (Pajhwok): Passengers and residents of southern Zabul province on Tuesday urged the reconstruction of the Kandahar-Kabul highway, saying most of deadly traffic accidents resulted the lousy condition of the road.
Roadside bombings, natural disasters and heavy trucks had extensively damaged the road, which witnesses accidents with a disturbing frequency. Passengers believe the highway’s reconstruction would help reduce such mishaps.
Zabul officials acknowledged the public concerns and said they had shared the issue with the Ministry of Public Works (MoPW). They hoped that funds would be allocated for the rehabilitation of the vital highway.
Mohammadullah, a resident of Shah Joi district, told Pajhwok Afghan News they saw traffic accidents on the southern highway on a daily basis. He alleged the government had failed control the flow of loaded trucks and dumpers.
Heavy vehicles have been plying the road since its construction. As a result, the highway has been left lousy and dilapidated, he argued. Poor traffic management has also contributed to the highway damage.
Currently the road is in a deplorable condition, particularly between Qalatand Shahjoi district, according to Mohammadullah, who complained motorists and passengers were troubled by wide cracks and ditches.
Another resident, Abdul Rahim, confirmed bomb blasts and insurgent attacks had taken a heavy toll on the road. He alleged Taliban planted mines on the road to target security forces. Civilians also pay a heavy cost.
Last year, the government reconstructed a 10-kilometre portion of the highway in Zabul province, but residents and drivers demand more work to rehabilitate the road.
Abdul Jabbar, a truck driver, grumbled the existence of ditches on the road created hurdles for them. It takes him two to three days reaching Kabul from Kandahar despite the fact that it is a 10 hours distance.
He said insurgency was underway and rebels’ activities would harm the road more if the government did not take steps to rehabilitate the damage portion and stop the plantation of roadside mines.
Haji Atta Jan Haq Bayan, the provincial council head, acknowledged public concerns and asked for the immediate construction of the key highway.
“Every day accident occurs on the road, which has been in dilapidated condition,” lamented the public representative, who cited the absence of traffic signs another reason for increasing traffic mishaps.
Governor Anwar Khan Ishaqzai said he had taken up the issue with officials of the Public Works Ministry during his visit to the capital last week. The minister had been asked to step up the rehabilitation work of the highway.
The 187-kilometre portion of the highway passes through Zabul. The road was graveled and asphalted back in 2002-03 with the help of the US, Japan and Saudi Arabia. But due to the use of low-quality construction, the road has been damaged considerably.
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