Helmand-Kandahar highway closure enters 4th day
LASHKARGAH (Pajhwok): The Helmand-Kandahar highway remained closed for a fourth consecutive day on Sunday due to ongoing clashes between security forces and Taliban militants in various districts along the road in southern Helmand province.
Passengers are facing a lot of problems due to the highway closure as a result of fierce clashes in Lashkargah, the provincial capital, Nad Ali, Marja and other districts.
Mohammad Karim, a 303 public transport bus driver on the Helmand-Kandahar, told Pajhwok Afghan News the road had been closed for the last four days. He said the insurgents had blown up small bridges in some areas and planted landmines.
The bus driver said hundreds of people made attempts to reach their destinations every day, but they were unable to do so due to the highway closure.
He said a large number of passengers had booked rooms in hotels waiting for the highway’s reopening amid financial problems.
Another driver, Feroz, told Pajhwok Afghan News a small passenger vehicle yesterday braved the situation and went ahead on the road, but came under attack from Taliban militants and some passengers suffered casualties.
The driver said the Taliban had told them to use a sub-road for reaching Kandahar from Lashkargah as they would attack vehicles if they plied the main road.
A commuter at the bus stand in Lashkargah, Qudratullah, told Pajhwok Afghan News he wanted to go to Nimroz province, but the road remained closed for the past few days.
He said he had done shopping for home, but no one could travel on the Helmand-Kandahar highway because the route was insecure from Dorahi area to Lashkargah.
A 303 bus service official, Syed Ali, told Pajhwok Afghan News there were clashes along the highway and the Taliban had warned people against travelling on the road. “They (Taliban) open fire at vehicles.”
Syed Ali urged the government and Taliban to resolve problems passengers faced on the highway in order to help them continue their journey and enable traders to transport their goods.
The governor acknowledged the road had been closed two days ago and said portions of the road damaged in landmine blasts had been repaired.
Hayatullah Hayat told Pajhwok Afghan News security threats on the highway had been reduced and special security forces had also been sent to support other security forces in maintaining security on the highway.
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