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6 months on, Ghazni-Paktika highway remains closed

6 months on, Ghazni-Paktika highway remains closed

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Dec 13, 2018 - 18:37

GHAZNI CITY (Pajhwok): Passenger vehicles in southern Ghazni province have been using dirt roads to reach their destinations because the Talibaninfo-icon have closed the Ghazni-Paktika highway over the past six months.

Six months ago, the Taliban waged a coordinated attack on Andar district and later closed the Ghazni-Paktika road against traffic.

Naeemullah, a resident of Andar district’s Khani Baba area, told Pajhwok Afghan News that the Ghazni-Paktika had been closed by the Taliban and passenger vehicles used dusty roads as a result.

“Like in other parts, the Taliban can be seen in Arzo area near the (Ghazni) city. They order passengers to disembark and search them.”

A resident of Ghazni City, Rahmatullah, said other roads leading to districts also faced security threats.

“People cannot travel fearlessly on any road, the Taliban are there on all routes,” he said.

A shopkeeper in Ghazni City, Noor Mohammad, said Paktika residents would arrive here to buy goods in the past, but now they could not travel due to security threats.

Ghazni Governor Wahidullah Kalimzai confirmed the Ghazni-Paktika road had been shut. “We had prepared a plan to reopen the road, but the plan could not be executed following the Taliban attack on Ghazni City.”

He said the Taliban had closed the road in order to collect taxes from vehicles.

Ghazni police chief Brig. Gen. Ghulam Daud Tarakhel also said they had devised a plan to reopen the road, but it could not be done due to Taliban attacks on Jaghori and Malistan districts.

But the police chief said an operation would be launched soon to drive insurgents from the Ghazni-Paktika road.

The Taliban also confirmed having closed the road over the past six months

Their spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said government forces attempted several times but were unable to reopen the road.

He said common people could use dirt roads for travelling, but all routes were closed for government forces.

He also denied the fighters took money from vehicles.

Some time ago, security forces launched an operation to reopen the Ghazni-Paktika road, but the operation had to be stopped midway.

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