The Kabul–Kandahar Highway is a 483-kilometer (300 mi) road linking Afghanistan's two largest cities, Kabul and Kandahar. This highway is a key portion of Afghanistan's national road system or "Ring Road". The entire highway from Kandahar to Kabul is on flat surface, with no mountain passes. Approximately 35 percent of Afghanistan's population lives within 50 kilometers of the Kabul to Kandahar portion of the Ring Road.
The Kabul-Kandahar highway was in major disrepair due to over two decades of war and neglect. The United States funded the repair and rebuilding of 389 kilometers of road, while Japan funded 50 kilometers. About 43 kilometers of the highway were already usable prior to the repairs. The rebuilding project was overseen by the Louis Berger Group, with assistance in planning and design by Turkish and Indian engineers. Phase one of paving was completed in December 2003 and the highway was opened to traffic. The journey from Kandahar to Kabul generally took travelers 18 hours but, since the rebuilding, has been shortened to roughly 6 hours.
As of early 2004, Taliban fighters continued to harass travelers of the corridor. Afghan guards, soldiers, mercenaries, and workers have been killed along the route. In October 2003, they kidnapped a Turkish contractor, and that December they kidnapped two Indian workers. In February 2004, Taliban rebels shot down a Louis Berger Group helicopter, killing three.
In March 2004, rebels murdered a Turkish engineer and an Afghan guard. Another Turkish engineer and a translator were kidnapped. This action prompted the United States to set up small civilian-military teams in three locations along the route. These teams no longer exist.
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- Salih, Salih Muhammad; Siddique, Abubakar (2008-10-23). "Death stalks the highway to hell". Asia Times Online (Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty). Retrieved 2008-10-23.
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