Tagab-Ala Sai highway becomes secure in 14 years

MAHMOOD RAQI (Pajhwok):  Residents say they have started commuting on the Tagab-Ala Sai highway in central Kapisa province for the first time in the past 14 years.

They say security forces have brought under their control the entire road for the first time, allowing common people and government officials to travel on the highway.

Ihsanullah, a resident of Tetarkhel area of Tagab district, said in the past despite police posts, insurgents had been active on the highway.

He said insurgents had also established their posts on the highway and would search vehicles.  He said government officials would not travel on the highway due to the presence of militants and sometimes civilians would also come under attack from the rebels.

But later when the Afghan National Army (ANA) troops conducted operations and established their posts, the road became completely secure, Ihsanullah said.

Jan Agha, who lives in Ashpa area of Ala Sai district, said many residents of the district who had government jobs in other parts of the country had been unable to travel on the road to visit families.

In the past, he said, insurgents had pulled off security personnel from vehicles and had killed them.

He told Pajhwok Afghan News the search operations that lasted a few months resulted in clearing the highway from militants and enabling people to commute fearlessly.

A tribal elder in Ala Sai district, Malak Khairullah, said militants outnumbered the police and that was why they could not maintain security on the road.

Previously, he said, large convoys would carry logistics to the Ala Sai district, but now a single could do that.

Afghan Local Police (ALP) commander in Tagab district Asad Agha Sapi said the Talibaninfo-icon during their rule on the highway had destroyed several bridges and they would often attack security forces.

He said mismanagement of security forces had been behind increased security problems and casualties among them on the road.  But now that problem had been resolved, he said, adding security posts had been established at key points of the road and the militants had been left with no option but to flee.

Kapisa police chief Birg. Gen. Abdul Karim Faiq confirmed the improved security of the Tagab-Ala Sai highway and said he had himself visited Tagab district to inspect the key points.

He said dozens of security posts had been established in sensitive parts along the road. Besides ANA troops, ALP members had also established their posts on the road to enable common people and government convoys to easily travel on the route.