No Progress Over Re-Opening Of Helmand-Kandahar Highway

Helmand-23-August-2016

Taliban insurgents attacked Helmand-Kandahar highway 16 days ago but to date no large-scale attempt by military has been made to reopen the key artery, residents say.

Sharif Amiry, TOLOnews reporter who visited the area and the highway, said people are using Gereshk route to reach Kandahar province from Lashkargh, the capital of Helmand.

But this route is also insecure and in using it they travel for three hours through Taliban controlled areas, said residents.

Amiry spoke to Durkhanai, a 65-year-old mother from Lashkargah, who lost her two young sons in the battles in Nawa district of the province and was forced to flee her home.

“Today is day six that Taliban come to Nawa [district] and we came to Lashkargah and are living in a mosque,” Durkhanai said, adding that the situation was extremely bad in Nawa.

Obaidullah, a driver who arrived in Lashkargah from Kandahar said he went through Gereshk: “The Taliban is searching people then they allow them through. The conditions of the road is very bad,” he said.

He has called on government to re-open the main Helmand-Kandahar highway.

Nadir, who also uses the highway, has added his voice to the appeal.

“The government should open the road. We use it to take our sick relatives for treatment and the road we now have to use is very bad and a healthy person can become ill,” he said.

Helmand-Kandahar highway has always been a busy route with more than 2,000 vehicles using it on any given day. But now, according to residents, the Taliban has created more than 20 check posts along the main artery and have closed it to traffic.

More than 10 months ago the Taliban increased their attacks in different parts of Helmand, especially in Washir, Nawa, Nad Ali Geremsir districts and PD4 of Lashkargh.

Amiry reports that the security forces are in a defence mode at the moment and that they have not been given orders to launch a military operation in the province.

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