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Green Shoots of Development Appear Along Route 601

March 9, 2011

Helmand’s main Highway is experiencing record levels of traffic flow, leading to the emergence of new businesses looking to take advantage of the improved security.

The main tarmacked road linking the key market town of Lashkar Gah with the rest of Afghanistan is experiencing a rise in small shops and other ventures, all cashing in on the surge of passing trade.

A string of new Afghan National Police (ANP) check points have ensured that the way is now more secure from insurgent activity and road side bombs.

Green shoots of development appear along Route 601. Crown Copyright 2011.

Manakan Aguldie, has opened one such shop on the side of the route being dubbed ‘the yellow brick road’; selling bread, pistachio nuts, energy drinks as well as mobile phones and SIM cards. “Sometimes people stop to buy phone cards, others stop for my cake or cigarettes,” he said. “The improved security has made it safer for me to sell my goods here.”

As well as the huge commercial convoys rumbling past his shop, there are hundreds of agricultural vehicles transporting livestock and crops, essential for the survival of the rural farming communities.

“We are really happy with 601 now, because before it was dangerous.” Said Mohammed, a farmer travelling back from Lashkar Gah market. “I am happy there are more police here.”

Mr Mannakanngul sells refreshments to customers in his newly opened shop. Crown Copyright 2011.

Central to the continued economic and social development in the area is the security provided by the ANP. Mohammed Abdul Sattar Khan, first Lieutenant of the 2nd Kandak (police unit), who controls check point Attal said: “Day by day the ANP are improving, as is the security situation. My men have a good relationship with the locals.”

Freedom of movement for the people of Helmand is essential for the growth of the regional economy, as well as the development of basic services like education and health clinics.

Highway 601 and other recently completed roads such as route Trident, form part of a wider initiative to develop the infrastructure network between the major towns and outlaying communities.

 

4 Comments leave one →
  1. jack permalink
    March 9, 2011 23:26

    keep it up. we want the ANA and the ANP to be in charge FULL TIME!

  2. I_love_Afghanistan permalink
    March 10, 2011 05:06

    Great stuff! This is what it is all about – the locals having a chance to make a decent living without being hassled and intimidated by surly, scowly-faced Taliban!
    Good roads are *crucial* as part of the progress in Afghanistan. They make travel much faster, illegal road-blocks harder to enforce (when you’re in a good-sized truck at high-speed, you have a chance of blasting through them), and I.E.D.s are harder to embed in a sealed road (much harder to hide, too).

  3. March 10, 2011 18:29

    One could also say the number of troops who died or were injured building this road meant it was not done in vain????

    Well the roads there – let the ANA/ANP now look after it.

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  1. Green Shoots of Development Appear Along Route 601 « Helmand Blog … | Afghanistan Today

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