Locals say Taliban destroyed part of Ghazni-Paktika highway


KABUL: Local sources say that the Taliban militants have destroyed half a kilometer portion of the Ghazni-Paktika highway which has been shut for traffic since the last four years.

According to residents, Afghan forces have several times launched operations for reopening the highway for traffic, but they have constantly failed. People blame the government for having no active plan to reopen the route.

Abdul Mohammad, a resident of Andar district said “we face huge troubles since the road has been blocked and alternative routes are planted with landmines besides being unpaved.”

Wahidullah, another resident, also blamed the government for its negligence regarding the key route connecting Paktia with Ghazni and Kandahar-Kabul highway and said that the Taliban collected taxes from drivers in the area.

Ghazni governor’s spokesman, Wahidullah Jumazada, said the Taliban had destroyed a 600-meter-long segment of the highway in Khani Qala area of Andar district with machinery. He said that the Taliban consider public facilities as enemy targets.

Meanwhile, a Taliban spokesman, Zabihullah Mujahid, confirmed that a portion of the road was damaged during heavy conflicts in the Arzo area on the outskirts of Ghazni province but that was two years ago. He rejected involvement in destroying the highway in Khani Qala and said there was no such recent incident.

Mujahid claimed the group never destroyed public works and facilities.

However, he did not provide information about the people behind the destruction as the area is said to be under Taliban control.

Residents of the area also said that the road was destroyed by the Taliban a few days back. They accused the Taliban of destroying public facilities and blamed the government for failing to protect them.

This comes as a 12 kilometers road is being constructed in the Zurmat district of neighbor Paktika province under the Taliban’s supervision. 

Taliban previously promised security for the construction of the road, which is surprisingly financed by the government, in the Zurmat without imposing any taxes