China-built Roads Are Reducing Travel Times In Afghanistan

Villagers in Bamyan said winter traveling was particularly difficult, given the poor conditions of the roads.

Samihullah drives an old minivan from a remote village in eastern Afghanistan’s Nangarhar Province to buy daily necessities in Jalalabad, the provincial capital. The trip is short, but that wasn’t always the case. A China-built road has changed all that.

“In the past, it took one hour and a half to travel from Jalalabad to my county Hisarak district, but since the building of the road, it takes only 15 minutes,” Samihullah told Xinhua.

Reconstructing and asphalting the road have also enabled villagers along the route to visit hospitals more quickly, he said, recalling that some patients had succumbed to their illness in the past before reaching health centers due to the poor conditions of the roads.

Over four decades of war and civil strife have destroyed most of Afghanistan’s infrastructure, including roads and highways. It previously took seven to eight hours to drive from Jalalabad to the national capital Kabul. A few years ago, China helped rebuild the road linking the two cities; today’s drive has been cut to two and a half hours.

Neighboring China has immensely contributed to rebuilding Afghanistan, having reconstructed water canals, hospitals and the Jalalabad-Kabul road that links eastern Nangarhar and neighboring Kunar and Laghman provinces to Kabul.

“Up to 6,000 cars and vehicles pass the Jalalabad-Kabul road on average every day. Ordinary people, government employees and students use the road to reach their destination,” Fazal Rabi Wailzai, the deputy director of Nangarhar’s public work directorate, told Xinhua.

The road also serves as a transit route that links Afghanistan to Pakistan, boosting trade and exchanges between the neighboring countries.

China also worked on a road in central Bamyan Province. The road built by the Chinese construction firm China Road and Bridge Corporation passes through more than 20 villages.

“In the past, we didn’t have a road, and it took more than one hour to take our farm products to market,” said Mohammad Hadi, a resident of Yakawlang district. “But since the building of the road, it takes only 10 minutes to reach the market and sell our products and return home on the same day.”

Villagers in Bamyan said winter traveling was particularly difficult, given the poor conditions of the roads.

Thanking China for contributing to the rebuilding process of war-torn Afghanistan, Bamyan’s provincial governor Abdullah Sarhadi said that 80 km of the Chinese-built roads in the province have been completed.

“Its positive impact is tangible,” Sarhadi said, “as the families can easily take their patients to hospital in the provincial capital and their products to market.”


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