Showing posts with label road-construction. Show all posts
Showing posts with label road-construction. Show all posts

Sunday, November 6, 2016

Roads of Afghanistan Falling Apart

The U.S. and other nations provided lots of funding for the construction of roads throughout Afghanistan. The improvement of the ring road that traverses the country is one great accomplishment. However, there is a problem. With the withdrawal of Coalition forces the various aid and development groups no longer have oversight (lack of access) on road construction projects and funding for the maintenance of the roads is greatly diminished. So many of the roads built are no longer being maintained. In addition, what little funding earmarked for road maintenance is squandered by the various Afghan ministries responsible for road upkeep. Read more in "The U.S. spent billions building roads in Afghanistan. Now many of them are beyond repair", The Washington Post, October 30, 2016.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Afghanistan - A Future Land Bridge?

There is a big push, spear-headed by the efforts of China and Russia to develop the economic structure of Central and South Asia. In fact, all countries in the region have an interest in this - Pakistan, Central Asian countries, Iran, India, etc. Even the United States attempted to generate some activity in this regard with its roll out of the Northern Distribution Network and the New Silk Road Strategy. While the emphasis is on the mineral, energy, and transportation sectors of Central and South Asia - the fact is all the countries are looking after their own economic and political self-interests. Afghanistan - because of its central geographical location - and if it can solve its political and security problems, can also benefit. However, Afghanistan has to develop its road and railroad networks in order to be the "crossroads for trade" in the region. Read more in "Long Road to the Ocean: Afghanistan's Quest for a Seaport", Eurasia Review, by Tamin Asey, December 7, 2014.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Road Construction: A Slow Go

Roads provide a lifeline for businesses in Afghanistan - where they exist and are maintained. But the construction of roads in Afghanistan over the past twelve years has quite a history. Much money has been spent but it is questionable how much of that money went to the construction of the roads because of corruption. There is a lot of speculation that  much of the road building money was used to construct houses in Kabul and Dubai by corrupt businessmen and government officials. A $200 million project of USAID to construct a road to tie the city of Khost with Gardez has had a fitful start with no sight in end for completion. Read more in "Anger Over Long-Delayed Afghan Highway", by Ahmad Shah of Institute for War & Peace Reporting, December 1, 2014.

Monday, October 6, 2014

Salang Tunnel Needs Fixing But . . .

Photo by Alicia Embrey USACE
The Afghan government is asking the United States and other international supporters for millions of dollars to fix the Salang Tunnel in northern Afghanistan. The tunnel, located in the Hindu Kush mountain range, was built decades ago by the Soviet Union. Some estimates say that 80% of Afghanistan's commerce travels through the 1.6 mile long tunnel. The tunnel is in need of serious repair work - requiring millions of dollars and a shut-down lasting several months. However, the United States is reluctant to pay the bill; especially since it has footed the cost of millions of dollars of road construction in Afghanistan already. Read more in "Bottomless Pit: U.S. Balks at Bills for Afghanistan's Treacherous Salang Tunnel", The Wall Street Journal, October 2, 2014.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Lots of Roads - Little Maintenance

The United States and other international partners have built over 10,000 miles of roads in Afghanistan over the past decade. In 2001 there were only 50 miles of paved road. So a lot of money, time, and energy has been put into road construction. The massive build up of the road system was seen as a way to provide for more security, more economic growth, provide jobs, and join the various ethnically-diverse sections of the country together tying it to a strong, central government in Kabul. While billions have been poured into road construction there has not been much progress into the maintenance of these new roads. As a result of low maintenance, over use, poor construction, and the Taliban planting IEDs which leave large craters the roads of Afghanistan are quickly deteriorating. The international partners (along with the United States) would provide the Afghan Ministry of Public Works money to maintain the roads but the ministry has proven itself of disbursing the money to contracts for the repairs - much of the money goes to the Dubai bank accounts of the corrupt ministry officials. Read more in "U.S.-built roads in Afghanistan crumble for lack of care", Stars and Stripes, February 2, 2014.