The bombs have been removed from Afghanistan’s “highway to death”, but the suffering continues

. It flows out of the capital and leaves behind a scarlet-shaped highway that runs across Afghanistan. Potholes. Ruts. Unfixed bridge that was destroyed by an airstrike. Two decades of wars, corruption and neglect are visible along the main artery connecting the two biggest cities of the country, Kabul, Kandahar.

The conflict is finished, as it has been for many 20 year: night raids and airstrikes; ambushes and roadside bombs; a grass-root insurgency which outpowered the most powerful army of the world, along with its allies. The rulers of Afghanistan are now

Taliban, who destroyed the road’s reputation for being “the highway to death” with their attacks. Although the Americans are gone, peace is still not in sight. New enemies and new challenges are constantly emerging. Since the invasion, hundreds of Afghans were killed in suicide bombings or other attacks. Millions of Afghans are still struggling to get work, buy necessities, and rent in a country that is experiencing multiple crises.

If roads are the storytellers of a country, carrying not only passengers and goods, but also stories, hopes, and fears, then the 300-mile trip from Kabul to Kandahar along National Highway 1 will reveal Afghanistan’s history, present, and future with all of its cataclysms, and longings.

Largely rebuilt following 2001, with American funding at an estimated cost of $300 millions, the highway runs through five provinces, including Ghazni (Kabul), Maidan Wardak (Ghazni), Zabul, Zabul, and Kandahar. It was designed to reduce travel times and win hearts and minds in Afghanistan. President George W. Bush publicly celebrated its construction. It became a battle zone, a symbol for American failure.

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