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 You are in: Under Secretary for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs > Bureau of Public Affairs > Bureau of Public Affairs: Press Relations Office > Press Releases (Other) > 2003 > December
Press Statement
Richard Boucher, Spokesman
Washington, DC
December 16, 2003


Reconstruction of the Kabul-Kandahar Highway

Today, about 30 miles south of Kabul, U.S. Ambassador Khalilzad, USAID Administrator Natsios, Japanese Ambassador Komano and representatives of many other countries joined President Hamid Karzai in formally opening the 242 mile highway between Kabul and Kandahar. The opening of this vital link between the two biggest cities of Afghanistan is a keystone event in the rebuilding of that country. Together with the Constitutional Loya Jirga, the completion of the road marks an historic milestone in the political and economic life of Afghanistan. As Administrator Natsios said at the dedication ceremony, this road is a “symbol of the reconstruction of Afghanistan and the commerce that will be encouraged by it, the education that will be easily obtained because of it, and the better health care that will be accessible by citizens because of it.”

Because of the road’s importance, President Bush made a commitment to President Karzai and the people of Afghanistan that the highway would be completed by the end of the year. With the President’s strong support and through the unswerving efforts of USAID, the Japanese government and many Afghan and international workers the President’s goal has been met. We also must acknowledge the sacrifice of those who were injured and killed during construction through attacks by those who seek to deny a bright future to the people of Afghanistan. Their sacrifice has not been in vain.

Today’s ceremony marked only the first phase of the reconstruction of a ring road that will link many of Afghanistan’s major urban areas with much of the countryside. Next year the United States and other international donors will join the Afghans in rebuilding the road link between Kandahar and Herat and work will also commence on other vital primary and secondary highways. These roads are making a very real contribution to restoring normal life in Afghanistan. As President Karzai said today at the dedication ceremony, this is one of the best days in the lives of the people of Afghanistan.

2003/1269

Released on December 16, 2003

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