Lt. General Engineer Mohammad Rajab, the chief of Maintenance for the Salang Pass road, spoke at his headquarters in Jabal Saroj, at the foot of the Hindu Kush. Mr Rajab has worked on the Salang road and tunnel for 23 years, and says that the recent spike in NATO traffic due to the closure of the Pakistani overland route has put tremendous strain on the Salang Highway, which now sees 10,000 vehicles a day pass through on a road system that was designed to handle just 2,000, with a 9 to 1 NATO-civilian ratio...The Salang road and tunnel is Afghanistan's only major direct overland route between the capital Kabul and the northern provinces. The road, which climbs into the Hindu Kush mountain range from the Shamali plains, and it's 2.6km tunnel that burrows through the pass from which it takes it's name, was constructed in the 1950's and early 1960's as part of an agreement with the Soveit Union. ..Today, the Salang pass is an almost impassible traffic jam?clogged with much increased traffic, particularly NATO supply convoys ferrying goods from Afghanistan's northern border to ISAF troops in the south?the only overland route for supplies since Pakistan halted transit of goods bound for troops in Afghanistan through their territory late last year. The safety of the road and tunnel has also come into question recently due to its poor upkeep, lack of ventilation and adequate lighting.
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