Afghanistan, Kabul, 15 November / Trend corr. A.Hakimi/ Ghazni is one of the oldest cities in Afghanistan. It is situated 135 km southwest of the capital Kabul at an altitude of 2,200 meters above sea level. The city is surrounded with high walls. In the north, outside Ghazni, a tower was built to protect the city from enemies.
To go in Ghazni, which has an ancient history, is dangerous today. Throughout the road you can see burnt trucks and looted cars.
To see what is happening in Ghazni, we visited the city.
On our way to Ghazni, we reached a place called Cheshmasalar. At roadside we saw a burnt and still smoking car. A thoughtful man with a white beard was sitting aloof from the car. I approached him and asked:
- Who has burnt the car?
- Taliban. They said "you are carrying the cargo of the NGO company"... and burned the car.
- And what were you carrying indeed?
- Cement. A school is being built near my house. I was carrying cement to the construction site.
City and highways in danger
The Kandahar-Ghazni highway is one of the largest roads in Afghanistan. A 483-km-road connecting Kandahar and Kabul, worth $190mln, was built by Americans five years ago.
Construction of a road linking two major cities of Afghanistan (Kabul and Kandahar), gave people a hope for improving the economic situation, but so far those hopes have not yet come true. Currently, the highway is one of the most dangerous in Afghanistan. It is frequently attacked by Taliban.
Construction of a highway is an important project implemented by Americans in this country with a view to rebuild Afghanistan after the fall of Taliban. But now this road has become a cradle of dangers and troubles.
"To capture governmental officials, Taliban call our company and require the names of passengers who bought tickets," an employee of a travel company, who wished to remain anonymous, said to Trend .
Passengers using the highway say that Taliban are in full control of the road, they stop passenger buses, question suspicious persons and take them away.
Bus driver Ali said that the Kabul-Kandahar highway is full of dangers and troubles. "We cannot relax anywhere throughout the road. Taliban block our way. When we do not fulfil their demands, they open fire."
As in Afghanistan prices for bus tickets are cheaper than those for air tickets, people prefer busses.
Recently, the Defence Ministry of Afghanistan and police have tightened protection of trunk highways to ensure safety to passengers. But on this highway they failed to do that. According to statistics, in recent months Taliban burned more than 50 cars on the trunk highway of Ghazni.
Over the past seven years, Taliban has not been so active in the south and south-east of Afghanistan, as it is now. Last year, after Taliban insurgents took by storm one of the cities, country's press evaluated that as a proof of insurgents' power. Media claimed that the security forces and military men in Afghanistan, and even coalition forces, are not so strong.
Speaking at a news conference on distribution of voting papers, Governor of Ghazni province said to voters that in all cities except Nava, which is controlled by Taliban, distribution of voting papers had been completed. He also said that the people were actively involved in obtaining their ballots.
So far Taliban burned dozens of truck columns belonging to the Afghanistan government and coalition forces. During night operations, Taliban insurgents attack mobile operators' companies and force them to paralyze the repeater stations of police headquarters.
In recent weeks, Taliban demand from the communication companies operating in Ghazni to suspend their activities for ten days. The companies were said that in case of non-compliance, their plants would be blown up. And last year Taliban demanded from cellular communication companies to disconnect repeater stations at evenings.
Due to the instability in the south, especially on trunk highways, the population calls them "roads of death". When people go to Kandahar and Herat, they set out hoping only to God.
The city of Ghazni is located on one of the main roads of Afghanistan - the Kandahar highway.
At the 6th meeting of ISESCO, held last year in Libya's capital Tripoli, the Afghan province of Ghazni was named "capital of Islamic culture in Asia". Since 2013 the city of Ghazni will be officially recognized cultural centre of the Islamic world. However, fear and misery that Taliban spreads make it impossible for Ghazni to receive the name. Now population find it difficult to accurately determine at which administration they live - Taliban or Karzai.
The correspondent can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org