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Ministry under fire for not fixing highways

Ministry under fire for not fixing highways

KABUL: Motorists on Monday raised concerns about the poor condition of a number of highways, despite government having approved budgets to repair them eight months ago.

The highways in question include the Kabul-Kandahar highway, the Salang-Kabul highway and the Kabul-Jalalabad highway. Motorists accused government of being negligent in maintaining these key routes.

But the Ministry of Public Works (MoPW) said in response that road surveyors are assessing the roads and that work has started on the Kabul-Jalalabad road.  “The road is damaged from mine explosions all the way to Ghazni,” said Zekrullah, one motorist who uses the Ghazni-Kabul highway.

“The situation is very bad along the way; we are now tired of damaged roads,” said a Kandahar resident, Hamid.  Public works ministry argues however that work will start soon, once the surveyors are finished and procurement has been completed.

“The passengers are complaining hugely about the road condition along the Kabul-Kandahar highway,” said Salim, a motorist.  Statistics show that Kabul-Kandahar, Salang and Kabul-Jalalabad highways are among the key transport routes in the country, and at least 30 percent of these roads are badly damaged.

“The climate also affects road construction; we always said that the previous leadership of public works failed to address the issue, but now this has become a reality,” said Nazir Nejrabi, a road construction expert.

“With consideration of time, we have three or four months to do this, we have received our budget and repairs have started on the Kabul-Jalalabad highway; 70 percent of work has been completed on the 50 km stretch of road there. We in our department at the ministry of public works have done what we were asked to do,” said Mahdi Rohani, spokesman for the MoPW.