Page last updated at 18:18 GMT, Thursday, 22 January 2009

Indian-built Afghan road opened

Afghan President Hamid Karzai and Indian Foreign Minister Pranab Mukherjee have opened a new Indian-built road in western Afghanistan.

The 200km (124-mile) highway, costing about $85m, links Zaranj on the Iranian border with the main road between the cities of Herat, Kandahar and Kabul.

On the Iranian side, it links with a route to the coast.

It also allows India to export goods by sea to Iran and transport them to the growing Afghan market.

India cannot export through Pakistan to Afghanistan because of tensions between the South Asian neighbours.

Delhi is heavily involved in aid and reconstruction work in Afghanistan and the new road underlines the growing economic and political ties between the two countries.

Indians are also building Afghanistan's new parliament and upgrading its electricity transmission network.

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