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Kandahar-Lashkargah highway reopened: Official

AT-KABUL: After a week-long closure, the security forces on Friday night reopened Kandahar-Lashkargah highway, a provincial official said on Saturday.

“The highway is reopened for military staffers only. But efforts are underway to establish check posts in the highway in order to reopen for public too,” provincial council member for Helmand Attaullah Afghan told Afghanistan Times.

“At the moment it is reopened for military staffers, where tomorrow (Sunday) it would be open for the public,” he added.

Fierce fighting between security forces and the Taliban insurgents have forced around 20,000 civilians in Helmand to leave their villages and homes and seek shelter in Lashkargah, the provincial capital city.

Moreover, the road closure had prevented the aid supply convoys to volatile areas of the province as a large number of people displaced.

The displaced people are living in difficult conditions as they don’t have food and potable waters to quench their thirst and hungry.

“Most of the displaced people have been living with their relatives’ homes, in some cases, up to ten families in one house. Most of them faced shortage of edible items and clothes in Lashkargah,” Naqib Zmaryal, Provincial Refugee Director said.

“We have some items ready for hundreds of families in southern Kandahar, but due to the closure of road by Taliban fighters the aid convoy in Kandahar can’t enter to Lashkargah as the main road is closed for past several days” Zmaryal said, adding they only have kitchen kid sets for displaced people in Lashkargah while the displaced people “desperately waiting” for arrival of food.

The displaced people in Lashkargah city mainly faced with shortage of food and cloths while those displaced in their own districts, out of the city are faced with more problems as government and aid agencies were not able to reach them due to the ongoing fighting and they face shortage of food, cloths, potable water and lack of health services, Hussain Alizada, provincial council member said.

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