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Science And Nature

Just what a 2,000-mile journey around Afghanistan uncovers per year following the Taliban takeover

Were free finally from the crush of Kabul morning traffic, and the map on my smartphone estimates itll take nine hours to operate a vehicle 300 miles to Kandahar on National Highway 1, probably the most expensive and important road in Afghanistan.

AMERICA poured vast sums of dollars into this stretch of asphaltone leg of a 1,400-mile ring road that circles the countryto speed travel and boost commerce between your nations capital and its own second largest city. Nonetheless it will be foolish to create dinner plans in Kandahar.

The highway was initially built-in the 1950s and 60s by the Soviet Union and america, Cold War rivals jockeying for influence in Kabul. It had been ruined by decades of war and neglect, and no more than 30 miles of paved road remained in 2001. Once the Kabul-to-Kandahar stretch was repaired and reopened in 2003, U.S. envoy Zalmay Khalilzad proclaimed, We have been standingliterallyon the street to Afghanistans futureIt is really a future of prosperity. This is a future of peace. Nineteen years later, the battered roadway is really a bone-rattling testament to the toll of rampant violence and graft that followed instead.

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