Located in the Hindu Kush mountains at an altitude of 11,100 feet, the Salang Tunnel links the main road between north and south Afghanistan. During fighting in 1998 between the Taliban and the Northern Alliance, the tunnel’s southern entrance and entire ventilation system were destroyed. Opening the tunnel was critical for the delivery of humanitarian assistance, economic development, and essential travel by Afghans
Never before in the country’s history has the central government been be able to communicate directly with all of the provinces, nor the provinces with each other. This lack of communication made it difficult to govern effectively.
"If the tunnel is open and the road is good, my income will go higher and the whole world will be happy. Then I will have no headache."
Most of the fields in the Fatmasti Valley of Bamyan Province were not cultivated for years after war and drought forced most of the people in the valley to flee to Iran. Since agriculture is a way of life for 70 percent of Afghanistan's people, building the canal and other infrastructure is key to re-establishing this crucial source of income.
For women in Afghanistan, the Taliban years were a time of deprivation and second-class status. Most of them were banned from working outside the home. This was particularly hard on widows. There are an estimated 50,000 war widows in Kabul alone who need to work to support their children. Under the Taliban, the widows’ bakeries were usually permitted to operate. Still, there were arbitrary arrests and beatings of women working at them, and bakeries were shut down at whim.
Last updated: December 30, 2014