Tunnel On Salang To Be Restored With Russia's Technical Guidance

Representatives of the Russian emergencies ministry's humanitarian centre in Kabul signed on Tuesday a quadripartite memorandum of intent for restoring the motor tunnel situated at a height of 3,363 metres on the Salang pass in Afghanistan. The tunnel, which is 2,700 metres long, was built by Soviet specialists in 1964. The motor road going through the Salang pass was the shortest and most safe route which connected the north of Afghanistan with its central and southern provinces. The tunnel was blasted in 1998 by Northern Alliance troops headed by Ahmad Shah Masood when they retreated under the onslaught of the Taliban. Since then, the motor road, which is very important for the economy of Afghanistan, has been paralysed. The quadripartite agreement has been signed by the Russian emergencies ministry's humanitarian centre in Kabul, the French agency for cooperation and technical development, the British Galo-Trust agency and the Afghan public work ministry. The Russian emergencies ministry is responsible for the general technical guidance of restoring the tunnel, and the French and British sides -- for financing the work.

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