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Road closure by NATO bothers Nangarhar residents, passengers

Road closure by NATO bothers Nangarhar residents, passengers

Sep 15, 2017 - 14:01

JALALABAD (Pajhwok): The closure of a busy road in front of the Jalalabad airport has sparked concerns among residents of eastern provinces and passengers travelling to the border town of Torkham.

Foreign troops on the airbase close the road until 9am dail and till noon at times, creating problems for government servants, university and school students, businesspeople and passengers.

Even seriously sick and injured people are not allowed to travel the road by Afghan security guards, allege residents, who demand an immediate end to the road closues.

Since the road in front of the airport is shut at night and reopened at 9am, residents are left with no option but to go to the city via the Ring Road or the bumpy route through Behsud district.

Thousands of people from Behsud, Rodat, Kot, Achin, Nazyan, Haska Mena, Dur Baba, Momand Dara and Lalpura districts, as well as other areas, travel the road. The passengers are troubled by the closures.

Complaints & demnds

An elderly woman, going to Torkham, was visibly upset by the blockade and heat. In a spittle-flecked rant, the woman hit out at the authorities for what she called an uncessary botheration.

"Concerned only about itself, our government doesn't care about the problems of anyone else," she grumbled, asking the higher-ups to pay heed to resolving the issue.

Momand Dara resident Jan Mohammad told Pajhwok Afghan News said he had to use an alternative route that was not only longer but also insecure. He also slammed the authorities for ignoring public security.

An inhabitant of Lalpura, Ghulam Jan, also urged the government to initiate urgent steps to address the problems resulting from the closure of the airport road.

"The road stretch from the first airbase gate to the Custums Department remains shut. This has caused us a lot of inconvenience. We hope the authorities will keep the road for the people."

Equally worried by the measure, drivers complained they were tired of plying alternative routes for hours and driving through narrow streets on a daily basis. They claim their time and resources are wasted unnecessarily.

Syed Asghar, one of the drivers, said: "The road here is blocked. We have to take longer and insecure routes, like the Ring Road. We want the government to open the main road."

 

Traders' problems

By the same token, traders say they are equally bothered by the closures on their way to the Customs Department.

Dr. Mukhlis Ahmad, head of the Consultative Board of the Afghanistaninfo-icon Chambers of Commerce and Industry, said the road lying through the Khushgand village of Behsud district was insecure and their routine work was delayed inordinately.

Businesspeople, transferring money from the provincial capital to the Customs Department, could not travel through insecure routes, he argued.

Civil societyinfo-icon reaction

Members of civil society assail the provincial administration for failing to address the issue. The Nangarhar governor is interested only in retaining his slot, pay no attention to public problems, they charge.

A member of the Peshayee Youth Society, Samiullah Ahmadi, said the provincial government had promised several times, resolving the problem. But the issue lingered on, as the promised was honoured in its breach, he observed.

Ahmadi remarked: "The provincial government is too weak to make the NATOinfo-icon-led troops reopen the road. The foreign soldiers are calling the shots here, refusing to lift the blockade."

Governor's House

Attaullah Khogyani, the governor's spokesman, blamed the international soldiers for not cooperating with them on the issue. He said they had shared the problem with the central government.

"On a number of occasions, whe took up the issue of opening the road with foreign troops on the base. Regrettably, despite follow-ups, they haven't kept their promise and shut the road from time to time," he noted.

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