Majority of Helmand roads, bridges ruined by conflict
LASHKARGAH (Pajhwok): As result of frequent clashes, at least 72 culverts have been destroyed and many roads damaged in southern Helmand province, causing residents multiple problems.
Ubiquitous firefights between security forces and Taliban recently escalated in Helmand, closing several schools and hospitals and forcing thousands of families to leave their homes.
Public Works DirectorAhlullah Obaidi, in an exclusive interview with Pajhwok Afghan News, said most of roads and bridges had been damaged as a result of recent firefights in Helmand.
He said 23 culverts had been destroyed on the Helmand-Kandahar highway and 28 others on the Babaji-Greshk road. He added 28 culverts had been blown up on the Helmand-Herat highway.
“In total, 72 culverts have been destroyed by bombs and fights in Helmand,” he said, adding bridges and roads in Lashkargah, Nad Ail, Nawa, Sangin and Kajaki districts had been ruined, but he did not have exact statistics.
Reconstruction of water channels and roads needed millions of afghanis and a pretty long time, he said. Construction work on the ChahAnjir-Greshk road has been stopped.
A tribal elder from Lashkargah, Obaidullah Ziarmal, agreed Helmand had suffered a lot due to the conflicts.“Highways and other facilities are not the government’s personal assets; they belong to the whole nation.”
Juma Khan, another resident of Helmand, remarked: “These roads are built with aid from foreign countries, which should not become victim of war or suffer due to it.”
The roads were built with hardships over the past 14 years and the government would have no ability to reconstruct them, he said.
Firoz, a driver on the Helmand-Kandahar highway, said people evinced little interest in going from one area to another due to bad condition of roads.
“Cars have to move slowly due to the destruction of culverts and roads, causing delays and a decline in people’s movement of people.”
Police chief, Brig. Gen. Aqa Noor Kintoz, said militants planted bombs on some highways.Afghan forces defused more than 400 bombs in the past three weeks.
Security forces were trying to neutralise all such bombs to let people travel safely, the police chief added. However, the situation remains far from satisfactory.
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