Kabul–Kandahar Highway

Coordinates: 32°06′43″N 66°02′48″E / 32.11203°N 66.04664°E / 32.11203; 66.04664
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Kabul–Kandahar Highway
Highway system

The Kabul–Kandahar Highway (NH0101) is 483-kilometer (300 mi) long that links Afghanistan's two largest cities, Kabul and Kandahar. It starts from Dashte Barchi in Kabul and passes through Maidan Shar, Saydabad, Ghazni, and Qalat until it reaches Aino Mina in Kandahar.[1] It is currently being rehabilitated at different locations.[2] This highway is a key portion of Afghanistan's national highway system or "National Highway 1". The entire highway between Kabul and Kandahar has no mountain passes but there are many mountains nearby in some places. Approximately 35 percent of Afghanistan's population lives within 50 km (31 mi) of the Kabul to Kandahar portion of the Afghanistan Ring Road.


Kabul-Kandahar Highway at Zabul Province in southern Afghanistan (October 2012)
Kabul-Kandahar Highway at Maidan Wardak Province in 2010

The Kabul–Kandahar Highway is said to have been designed and asphalted in the 1960s by Afghan and American engineers under contracts with the United States International Cooperation Administration.[3][4][5] This was a time when the Soviet Union and the United States were spreading their influence in Afghanistan.[3][6][7][8] In those years the highway was mostly used by trucks and buses because private vehicles were very few when compared to the present time. In the 1980s, in addition to trucks and private vehicles, military convoys of the Soviet Union were often seen passing back and forth between Kabul and Kandahar. The highway began deteriorating in the 1990s.

In late 2002 or early 2003, during the presidency of Hamid Karzai, the United States funded the repair and rebuilding of 389 km (242 mi) of road (at a cost of about $190 million),[9] while Japan funded 50 km (31 mi). Only about 43 km (27 mi) of the highway was usable prior to the repairs. The rebuilding project was overseen by the Louis Berger Group, 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.[10] The journey from Kandahar to Kabul generally took travelers 18 hours but, since the rebuilding, has been shortened to roughly 6 hours.

In 2022 the Government of Afghanistan decided to rebuild and repair the highway.[11] Work soon began in different provinces of the country where the highway passes.[12][2] Construction of a toll plaza began in Kabul Province in late 2022.[13] Another toll plaza is planned to be constructed in Kandahar Province.[14]

The Dashte Barchi bus terminus provides transport services to the provinces of Maidan Wardak, Bamyan, Ghazni, Daikundi and Ghor.[15] There is another such terminal in Aino Mina in Kandahar,[16] and one in the western end of that city which provides bus services to Lashkar Gah, Zaranj, Farah and Herat.[17] The bus terminals are regulated by Afghanistan's Ministry of Transport and Civil Aviation.


The Kabul–Kandahar Highway starts from Dashte Barchi in the western section of Kabul.[18] It traverses the provinces of Kabul, Maidan Wardak, Ghazni, Zabul, and Kandahar.

Major accidents and security issues[edit]

As of early 2004, Taliban fighters continued to harass travelers of the corridor. Afghan guards, soldiers, mercenaries, and workers have been killed along the route. In October 2003, they kidnapped a Turkish contractor, and that December they kidnapped two Indian workers. In February 2004, Taliban rebels shot down a Louis Berger Group helicopter, killing three.

In March 2004, rebels murdered a Turkish engineer and an Afghan guard. Another Turkish engineer and an interpreter were kidnapped. This action prompted the United States to set up small civilian-military teams in three locations along the route. These teams no longer exist.

On May 8, 2016, a major vehicular crash killed at least 73 and injured over 50 people along the Kabul-Kandahar Highway in Moqor District of Ghazni Province. Two buses traveling from Kabul to Kandahar collided with a fuel tanker, causing a fiery inferno. The vehicles were reportedly speeding to avoid ambush by the Taliban.[19] At least 35 persons died in September 2016 when a fuel tanker collided with a passenger bus.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Application of Road Numbering System National Highway", [1] Archived 2017-05-07 at the Wayback Machine The Ministry of Public Works (October 16, 2015)
  2. ^ a b "Maidan Wardak residents want work on Kabul-Herat Road accelerated". Pajhwok Afghan News. 12 December 2022. Retrieved 2023-01-02.
  3. ^ a b Schubert, Frank N. (1991). "U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and Afghanistan's Highways 1960–1967" (PDF). American Society of Civil Engineers. Retrieved 2023-01-24.
  4. ^ "U.S. role in building Afghan roads dates back to 1960s". ReliefWeb. 11 December 2002. Retrieved 2023-01-24.
  5. ^ "Afghanistan in the 1950s and '60s". The Atlantic. July 2, 2013. Retrieved 2023-01-24.
  6. ^ "The Outlook For Afghanistan". United States: Office of the Historian. September 22, 1959. Retrieved 2023-01-24.
  7. ^ "Helmand's Golden Age". BBC News. 7 August 2014. Retrieved 2023-01-24.
  8. ^ "A Historical Timeline of Afghanistan". United States: PBS NewsHour. May 4, 2011. Retrieved 2023-01-24.
  9. ^ Conover, Ted (2010). "Double-Edged Roads". The Routes of Man: How Roads Are Changing the World and the Way We Live Today. New York: Alfred A. Knopf. p. 166. ISBN 978-1-4000-4244-9.
  10. ^ USAID Press Release: Afghans Celebrate Phase I Completion of Kabul to Kandahar Highway Archived 2011-10-20 at the Wayback Machine
  11. ^ "Zabul-Kandahar Road Construction Starts:Mujahid". Bakhtar News Agency. July 29, 2022. Retrieved 2023-01-02.
  12. ^ "Reconstruction Work on a Road Start in Ghazni". Bakhtar News Agency. October 25, 2022. Retrieved 2023-01-02.
  13. ^ گزارش ویژه از ساخت بزرگترین دروازه الکترونیکی شاهراه کابل کندهار on YouTube
  14. ^ Construction of toll gate on Kabul - Kandahar highway /ساخت دروازه برقی در شاهراه کابل - کندهار on YouTube (Ariana Television Network, Dec. 31, 2022)
  15. ^ Creation of the first ever bus terminal in Dasht Barchi / ساخت اولین ترمینال مسافربری دشت برچی on YouTube (Ariana News, Jan. 5, 2023)
  16. ^ Kabul bus station & Terminal Kandahar 9/8/2022 on YouTube
  17. ^ Herat bus station & terminal Kandahar 08 September 2022 on YouTube
  18. ^ The new 40-meters road in Dashte Barchi / سرک جدید چهل متره دشت برچی در گزارش حفیظ امیری on YouTube (Ariana News, Jan. 23, 2023)
  19. ^ "Fuel-tanker crash kills over 70 in Afghanistan's Ghazni". Al-Jazeera. 8 May 2016.

External links[edit]

32°06′43″N 66°02′48″E / 32.11203°N 66.04664°E / 32.11203; 66.04664