AT-KABUL: The World Bank approved a $250 million grant to Afghanistan to improve connectivity across Hindukush mountain range, including rehabilitation of Salang pass.
A statement issued by the World Bank said that the trans-Hindukush road connectivity project will develop the existing mountain crossings into all-season roads to pave the way for transport of passengers and goods to cross the mountain range throughout the year.
Bob Saum, World Bank’s Director for Afghanistan, termed rehabilitation of the roads as vital for economic growth and national integration of Afghanistan.
“Harsh winters often force closures of the Salang pass and so upgrading alternative roads at lower altitudes, such as from Baghlan to Bamiyan, is important to secure traffic flows and economic activities throughout the year,” he said.
The statement said that the trans-Hindukush road connectivity project would be implemented under the responsibility of the Ministry of Public Works (MoPW) over the next seven years. The MoPW has assigned a high-ranking official to ensure oversight of the project.
The Salang pass was built in the 1960s, and is located between 2,500 and 3,400 meters altitude above sea level. It is a critical road that connects Afghanistan’s northern provinces, in addition to Central Asian countries, with the capital Kabul and the rest of the country to south Asia.