Asadullah and his fellow 55 passengers are taking a ride along the 483-km highway that many believe is the most dangerous stretch of road on the planet. Linking Kandahar and Kabul – Afghanistan’s two largest and most economically vital cities – and completed almost five years ago, the road was meant to open a gateway to economic development and improve the quality of life for Afghans.
The US state department touted the $190 million project as “the most visible sign of America’s post-war reconstruction” in Afghanistan. But today the road is a symbol of instability across the country, the failure of government and international security forces to maintain law and order, and the increasing presence of the Taliban.
Government and military officials say insurgents and bandits regularly pull travellers from their vehicles, murdering or kidnapping them for ransoms. Corrupt government security forces seek bribes and collaborate with insurgents and robbers. Roadside bombs frequently target Afghan police and military patrols, along with Nato convoys. No one in an official capacity can even quantify the violence…
Afghans unable to afford the $100 one-way airfare between Kabul and Kandahar pay an average of $6 for the bus ride. They hope the bus will be safer than travelling in private vehicles, which are favoured targets of the Taliban and highwaymen.
The police beg for another 320 able bodies. The Afghan Army begs for modern weapons. The United States – you may remember that we devised and led the invasion of this nation – spends billions on a temple to American greed in Baghdad’s Green Zone and the soldiers needed to protect it. We send the Afghan people little lectures on morality.
American conservatives and professional patriots see no contradictions whatsoever.