|National Highway 1|
|Highways in Afghanistan|
National Highway 01 or NH01, formally called the Ring Road (Pashto: د افغانستان حلقوي سړک; Dari: شاهراه حلقوی افغانستان), is an ancient 2,200 kilometres (1,400 mi) two-lane road network circulating inside Afghanistan, connecting the following major cities (clockwise): Kabul, Maidan Shar, Ghazni, Kandahar, Delaram, Herat, Maymana, Sheberghan, Mazari Sharif, Puli Khumri and back to Kabul. It was originally built and maintained by the Mauryan Empire, and is well documented in Greek and Buddhist sources from the 4th century BCE onward. An important arterial road for the region, it fell occasionally into disrepair but never into disuse; many rulers who held sway over sections of the road are known to have renovated it over and over again, and these include Sher Shah Suri, the Mughal Empire and the British Empire. It has extensions that also connect Jalalabad, Bamyan, Khost, Lashkargah, Zaranj (Route 606), Farah, Islam Qala, Torghundi, and Kunduz. It is part of AH1, the longest route of the Asian Highway Network. National Highway 01 is broken up into four major sections, NH0101-0104, linking the major economic centers of Afghanistan.
Part of National Highway 1 has been refurbished since late 2003, particularly the Kabul–Kandahar Highway, with funds provided by the United States, Saudi Arabia and others. Most work on that stretch was done by Turkish, Indian and local companies. Japanese companies were also involved near the southern Afghan province of Kandahar. In the west, Iran participated in the two-lane road construction between Islam Qala and the western Afghan city of Herat. Pakistan rebuilt the Jalalabad–Kabul Road.
The Kabul–Kandahar Highway (NH0101) is a 483-kilometer (300 mi) section of National Highway 01 two of Afghanistan's largest cities, Kabul and Kandahar. This highway is a key portion of the Ring Road. Approximately 35 percent of Afghanistan's population lives within 50 km (31 mi) of the Kabul to Kandahar portion of the Ring Road.
The Kabul-Kandahar highway underwent major repairs carried out by the United States and Japanese governments with assistance in planning and design by Turkish and Indian engineers. Phase one of paving was completed in December 2003 and the highway was opened to traffic. However, the road has badly deteriorated since that time, from heavy trucks and also from terrorist sabotage. Furthermore, armed guards must protect highway repair crews from ambushes. Banditry and extortion at Taliban checkpoints continue to be problems.
National Highway 8 (NH08) runs from Jalalabad - Kabul, following the Tang-e Gharu gorge, parallel to the Kabul River, for 64 kilometres (40 mi). The two-lane Kabul Gorge highway runs along 600 metres (2,000 ft) cliffs. Fatal traffic accidents occur in this area, mainly due to reckless driving.
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