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Last Updated: Tuesday, 16 December, 2003, 13:55 GMT
Karzai reopens key Afghan highway
President Karzai reopens the Kabul-Kandahar highway
President Karzai cuts the ceremonial tape
Afghan President Hamid Karzai has reopened a key highway linking the capital Kabul with the southern city of Kandahar, a former Taleban stronghold.

The prestigious highway reconstruction project was one of his government's key goals following the fall of the Taleban two years ago.

The 482 kilometre (303 miles) highway was originally built with the help of American funds in the early 1960s.

But years of conflict had turned it into a dusty, potholed, dirt track.

Correspondents say the improvement of the road will cut the travel time between the two cities from 16 hours to about six.

Reconstruction of the Kabul-Kandahar highway has been hit by attacks on construction workers by suspected Taleban fighters.

Two Indian workers were abducted from Zabul province, through which the road passes, earlier this month.

In November, a Turkish engineer was kidnapped by the Taleban who later released him.

Rebuilding Afghanistan's roads is on top of the interim government's agenda to help improve communications and links between the provinces in the landlocked country.


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