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Along Afghanistan’s ‘Highway Of Death,’ The Bombs Are Gone But Suffering Has Deepened

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The Washington Post

Along Afghanistan’s ‘Highway Of Death,’ The Bombs Are Gone But Suffering Has Deepened

By Sudarsan Raghavan and Lorenzo Tugnoli
 
Flowing from the capital, the highway begins without promise, a long, curving scar stretching across the navel of Afghanistan. Potholes. Ruts. A bridge destroyed in an airstrike, still unfixed. Visible symbols of two decades of war, corruption, and neglect along the artery that connects the nation’s two largest cities, Kabul and Kandahar.

The conflict is over, at least as it was known for the past 20 years: airstrikes, night raids, ambushes, roadside bombs, a grass-roots insurgency that outmaneuvered the world’s most powerful army and its proxies.

Taliban fighters, whose attacks burnished this road’s reputation as “the highway of death,” are again Afghanistan’s rulers. The Americans have left, but peace remains elusive. There are fresh enemies, fresh challenges. Hundreds of Afghans have been killed by suicide-bombings and other attacks since the takeover. Millions more are struggling to find work, purchase necessities and pay rent amid multiple crises, including a collapsing economy, deepening humanitarian woes and drought.

If roads can be the chroniclers of a nation, transporting not just passengers and goods but also the stories, aspirations and fears of a people, then the 300-mile journey from Kabul to Kandahar on National Highway 1 unveils Afghanistan’s past, present and future in all its cataclysms and yearnings.

Full story https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/interactive/2021/afghanistan-highway-kabul-kandahar/