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 You are in: Under Secretary for Political Affairs > Bureau of South and Central Asian Affairs > Releases > Press Releases > 2002 > April-December
Press Statement

Kabul, Afghanistan
November 10, 2002

Ground Breaking Ceremony for Kabul-Kandahar-Herat Highway Reconstruction Project

Released by U.S. Agency for International Development Press Office

On Sunday, November 10, Afghanistan's President Hamid Karzai and U.S. Ambassador Robert P. Finn officiated a ground breaking ceremony to mark the first day of construction of Afghanistan's main highway, known as Highway 1, from Kabul to Kandahar to Herat. U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) Mission Representative in Kabul, Elisabeth Kvitashvili, attended, as well as representatives of co-funding partners Saudi Arabia and Japan will attend.

Reconstruction of the more than 1,000 kilometer highway will take an estimated 36 months to complete and will employ thousands of Afghans. The project will cost an estimated $250 million; $180 million has been pledged to date from the United States, Japan and Saudi Arabia.

The U.S. Commitment

The United States will provide $80 million through the USAID. This includes USAID funding for de-mining efforts along the highway, which will be carried out by the United Nations Mine Action Center.

"We'll help develop a modern infrastructure so that Afghan entrepreneurs will be able to move products from one city to the next, and so that people will be able to find work, they'll be able to put food on the table," pledged U.S. President George Bush. Afghan President Hamid Karzai has stated that reconstruction for the country's principal road system is key to Afghanistan's economic recovery.

The U.S. - supported reconstruction begins south of Kabul. When winter weather conditions require suspension of work on the Kabul to Kandahar portion, USAID will commence work on the Kandahar to Herat portion. This will allow for year-round construction.

Engineering design and supervision services are provided by the Louis Berger Company. Afghan Reconstruction Company (ARC) is responsible for construction of the initial 49 kilometers of the road.

A Collaborative Effort

In collaboration with the Islamic Transitional Government of Afghanistan, the United States, Japan, and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia agreed in September to reconstruct the highway. The Japanese government is expected to contribute $50 million and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia $50 million. The Japanese government will begin its reconstruction operations from Kandahar to Kabul by the end of the year.

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