A key highway that connects the city of Herat with the border town of Islam Qala remains unsafe for passengers, government officials and commercial trucks due to the presence of militants and armed robbers along parts of it, according to members of the private sector and the provincial council.
On April 10, five employees of the government-owned Pashtany Bank were killed on this highway. Also, a security forces vehicle was attacked on the highway this month.
“The Herat Islam Qala highway is not only key for Herat but it is highly important for Afghanistan,” said Madi Hadid, a member of Herat's provincial council. “Most of the imports from Iran are transported through this highway and mostly businessmen are traveling through it.”
Hadid said the lack of security on the Herat-Islam Qala highway will have an impact on the country.
But Herat police said a military operation has been launched to restore security on the highway – which has over 110 km stretching from the city of Herat.
“We have conducted operations in Qudoos Abad, Ahmad Abad and Shibish areas to clear them of the enemy. We have had good progress in these operations,” Herat Police Chief Colonel Obaidullah Nawrozi said.
Hundreds of trucks loaded with commercial goods pass through the highway on a daily basis, according to the Herat Chamber of Commerce and Investment.
“We are tired of the lack of security on Herat-Islam Qala highway. Businessmen cannot travel on this highway,” said Yunus Qazizada, head of the Chamber of Commerce and Investment in Herat.
He added that the problem has been shared with the government many times, but “no attention has been paid to it so far.”