Kabul-Kandahar highway reopens for traffic
GHAZNI CITY (Pajhwok): The Kabul-Kandahar highway was reopened for traffic in southern Ghazni province on Monday after security forces pushed back Taliban from the area, the governor said.
Amanullah Hamim told reporters that security forces had repulsed the insurgent attacks, reopening the southern road for traffic.
He alleged Taliban destroyed a part of the road, halting the flow of traffic for some time.
Taliban militants blocked the key highway in Asfandi and Shahbaz areas near Ghazni City, the provincial capital.
Provincial council member, Hassan Rezaee, told Pajhwok Afghan News the militants closed the highway in Asfandi area at 6am.
The rebels had warned inhabitants of Qarabagh district not to come out of their homes, the public representative said.
Noorullah, a resident of Ghazni City who left for Kandahar in the morning, was stopped along with other passengers by the insurgents in Shahbaz area.
Hundreds of the guerrillas had gathered to intercept a large number of vehicles on both side of roads, but there was no sign of the presence of security forces in the locality, he claimed.
A resident of Andar district said: “We were going to Ghazni City but the Taliban stopped us on our way. They told us to inform our relatives in the city to leave because they wanted to attack the city.”
He confirmed the fighters in Asfandi, Noghi, Khashak, Nanai, Lewan and Niazi areas of Ghazni City did not allow people to commute.
Residents of the provincial capital, where most of shops were closed, expressed concern at the situation. But local officials refused to comment on the issue.
Acting Governor Mohammad Ali Ahmadi said: “I was told by the governor not to talk to media.” Journalists accused the governor of ordering local officials not to share information with them.
The Taliban claimed responsibility for blocking the key transport corridor that connects the southern part of the country with the capital. The group’s spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said the road blockade was part of their offensive codenamed Azam.
He said the road block was a tactical move by Taliban fighters to achieve some objectives. However, he did not explain the objectives. Mujahid asked motorists to avoid traveling on the highway.
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