Addressing the Necessity for Highway Rehabilitation
By Amanullah Hanifi
Transportation and transit play a crucial role in a country's economic growth, with investments in this sector enhancing regional and international trade opportunities. While many countries rely on sea, air, land, and railway networks for passenger and commercial transport, Afghanistan, being landlocked, primarily relies on air, land, and railway transportation. After enduring four decades of war, Afghanistan is now governed by a strong and centralized Islamic system, ensuring security across the country. As part of its efforts towards self-sufficiency in the economic sector, the Islamic Emirate is prioritizing transportation and transit development. This article focuses on land transport, specifically the deteriorating conditions of roads, the resulting challenges, and the urgent need for their reconstruction and construction.
The Current State of Highways
In Afghanistan, land transport, particularly through roads, plays a more significant role compared to air and rail transport. However, the condition of the country's roads has not received the necessary attention, despite their crucial importance for Afghanistan's economic growth and development. Reports from international sources indicate that 54 percent of Afghanistan's highways have been neglected and require reconstruction, with the remaining portions at risk of further deterioration if prompt action is not taken. The destruction of highways can be attributed to various factors such as natural disasters, excessive load, speeding trucks, heavy traffic, and the use of low-quality materials during construction. It is not only reconstruction that is needed, but many provinces and remote districts also lack paved roads entirely. This means that people living in these areas must navigate rough and unpaved routes to reach markets and fulfill their basic needs. As a result, they are deprived of essential life services due to the lack of road infrastructure. Additionally, both ordinary citizens and truck owners face numerous challenges on the highways, with deteriorating road conditions significantly impacting their businesses. The Kabul-Herat highways are cited as examples, where travel times can stretch into hours due to the poor state of the roads.
The Importance of Road Reconstruction and Construction in Afghanistan
Due to its strategic geographical location, Afghanistan serves as a vital bridge connecting countries in the region. By investing in a well-structured land transport system, primarily relying on roads, regional connectivity can be significantly enhanced, contributing to rapid economic growth. Afghanistan boasts an extensive network of regional, provincial, and local roads, covering thousands of kilometers, capable of linking different regions within the country. Constructing and reconstructing these roads to establish interconnectivity between all regions will undoubtedly ensure timely and high-quality delivery of essential services to people residing in remote areas. Education initiatives can be initiated, healthcare centers can be established, businesses can flourish, and tourism can thrive, ultimately improving the overall standard of living for all citizens. By rehabilitating highways and constructing new roads, remote areas will be effectively connected to the central hub. It is undeniable that the construction of well-maintained roads plays a vital role in the social, economic, cultural, political, and commercial development of a country. Given that a significant portion of transportation in Afghanistan occurs on roads, their construction and reconstruction greatly contribute to the economy, agriculture, political stability, security, and overall regional development. Moreover, the transportation of agricultural products to different areas becomes more efficient and convenient, facilitating business growth. Investing in the reconstruction and construction of roads and highways in Afghanistan will not only enhance connectivity but also pave the way for comprehensive development across various sectors, fostering progress and prosperity for the nation as a whole.
Initiation of Highway and Road Construction and Reconstruction
Despite facing international bans and restrictions, the leadership and officials of the Islamic Emirate have dedicated themselves to the rebuilding efforts of the country. They are tirelessly working day and night towards this goal. One area of significant focus for the Islamic Emirate is the reconstruction and rehabilitation of the transportation sector, particularly highways and roads, which play a crucial role in achieving economic self-sufficiency. A prime example of this commitment is the rehabilitation of the Kabul-Herat highway, which connects the southern regions to the central, northern, and northeastern parts of the country. The actual construction work has already commenced, and in the near future, the highway will be completed and operational. Alongside this, the Islamic Emirate has also initiated road construction projects in numerous remote districts across various provinces and it is planned that the completion of one project will be followed by the start of another.