Route 606 (Afghanistan)

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Route 606
Route information
Part of AH71
Length: 218 km (135 mi)
Existed: 2009 – present
Major junctions
Southwest end: Iran (near Zaranj)
Northeast end: Delaram
Highway system
Highways in Afghanistan

Route 606, also known as Delaram-Zaranj Highway or A71 is a 218 km road[1] in Nimruz Province of Afghanistan connecting Delaram in the north to the border of Iran in the south near Zaranj. It is one of the busiest roads in Afghanistan[1] and provides an important trade route between Iran and the rest of Asia.

The Delaram–Zaranj Highway, also known as Route 606, is a 135 miles long two-lane road in Afghanistan, connecting Zaranj in Nimruz Province, near the Iranian border, with Delaram in neighboring Farah Province.[2] It connects the Afghan–Iranian border with the Kandahar–Herat Highway in Delaram, which provides connectivity to other major Afghan cities via A01. Route 606 reduces travel time between Delaram and Zaranj from the earlier 12-14 hours to just 2 hours.

From Zaranj, the highway connects to Zabol across the border in Iran. Zabol is well-connected by road to the Port of Chabahar. The highway thus provides land-locked Afghanistan an alternative way to access the Arabian Sea and the Persian Gulf, instead of relying solely on the unstable Pakistani routes. "The road is much shorter and more stable than any of the routes in Pakistan, making it perhaps the most efficient means of reaching Afghanistan."[3]

Route[edit]

The northern terminus of Route 606 connects to the Ring Road in Delaram at the west end of the Delaram Bazaar. The southern terminus is on the border of Iran near the city of Zaranj, the capital of Nimruz Province. The road passes through the districts of Delaram, Chankhansur, Khash Rod and Zaranj. It intersects with Route 515 near Delaram.

Key points[edit]

History[edit]

India helped build the road in 2009 to bypass Pakistan during commercial trade at a cost of $152 million USD. These improvements consisted of paving the road, but frequent fighting in the area due to the War in Afghanistan hindered construction.

The Delaram–Zaranj Highway was constructed at a cost of USD 135 Million (INR 6 Billion), financed fully by development grants from the Government of India. The highway was designed and constructed by the Border Roads Organisation (BRO) of India. The highway was opened to the public on 22 January 2009 by Afghan President Hamid Karzai.

Over 300 BRO engineers and technicians were deployed on the project, accompanied by 70 Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) personnel for their security.

Construction of the highway started in 2005, but progress was slow since it was a target of frequent insurgent attacks.[8] 135 people working on the road were killed in such attacks, including 129 Afghans and 6 Indians. Two BRO employees and 4 ITBP personnel were among those killed.[2]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ a b Bego, Bruno J. "Engineers Enhance Security Along Main Route Keeping Helmand Open", Afghanistan International Security Force website, August 30, 2011. Retrieved on September 10, 2011.
  2. ^ a b "India hands over strategic highway to Afghanistan". Hindu. 2009-01-23. Retrieved 2011-08-10. 
  3. ^ "America's way out of dependence on Pakistan: Iran". The Christian Science Monitor. 2012-07-24. Retrieved 2012-07-24. 
  4. ^ "Google map of northern terminus". 
  5. ^ "Google map of intersection with Route 515". 
  6. ^ "Google map of Route 606 in Zaranj District Center". 
  7. ^ "Google map of southern terminus". 
  8. ^ "India takes a slow road". Asia Times. 2007-01-27. Retrieved 2011-08-10.