Russian Experts Clear Tunnel At Salang Pass

The Russian Emergencies Ministry's experts and Afghan builders cleared 15 metres of the tunnel at Salang pass yesterday. In all, they cleared 235 metres of the southern tunnel's part. Heavy equipment is used at the restoration work. The Salang tunnel, 2,700 metres long, is the shortest way linking Afghanistan's north and south. The Soviet experts put it into operation in 1964. It is of particular importance for the creation of Afghanistan's common economic space. Ahmad Shah Massood's troops blew it up in 1998 in order to prevent the Taliban from penetrating into Afghanistan's north. On Wednesday the Russian Emergencies Ministry's mobile hospital in Kabul gave medical aid to 100 local residents. Since early December the Russian doctors have given aid to 2,668 Afghans and carried out 17 operations. An Emergencies Ministry aircraft has recently delivered medicines to the Bagram air base (20 kilometres north-east of Kabul). They were given to the Afghan Health Ministry, the Emergencies Ministry's press service said.

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