Category Archives: Transportation

How Afghan Roadways Are Leading to Surprising Progress

How Afghan Roadways Are Leading to Surprising Progress

The history of Afghanistan is long and illustrious – in fact, it is the geographical home to some of the most ancient civilizations known to man. Archeologists suggest humans lived in Afghanistan at least 50,000 years ago, and some of the world’s earlier farming communities were established there. And between 3000 and 2000 BCE, the area supported a vast expanse of urbanized culture. The country was also once a stop on the historic network of trade routes known as the Silk Road through the 1st century.

As a result, there’s no denying that Afghanistan is well-acquainted with infrastructure and the need to facilitate travel, trade, and commerce. However, due to multiple conflicts in recent decades, the nation is sorely in need of economic recovery, including attention to new roads and bridges. Not only do these elements of infrastructure need to be conceptualized and built, but they will need to be maintained as well.

afghanistan

In fact, both the Afghan and U.S. governments have been in agreement for some time that this type of reconstruction should be a top priority for everyone involved. Progress simply cannot be achieved without it. So, where is Afghanistan in the process of bringing this dream to life?

Infrastructure and Rehabilitation Program

One project in particular has been extremely effective in changing the current state of Afghanistan’s roadways. In collaboration with the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) established an innovative program in 2006 to rehabilitate the roads and physical infrastructure of the country.

Known as the Infrastructure and Rehabilitation Program (AIRP), the partnership spanned six years, ending in 2012. It has facilitated political stability and economic recovery in the area through the strengthening of roadways and other necessary arteries of land travel.

Established as an Afghan-led reconstruction project, the $1.4-billion effort supported the local government in developing sustainable new roads throughout the region, establishing power and transport infrastructure, and providing technical and executive direction to more than 25 projects in the transport, energy, and construction sectors.

This massive enterprise included working with officials to develop functional road management capable of maintaining close to 100 miles of rough terrain and provincial routes. Aided by local contractors and laborers, Afghanistan’s road network expanded significantly, creating more than 16,000 jobs and bringing potential freedom of movement to an estimated 9 million citizens.

Contributing to Economic Recovery

Aside from simply creating necessary thoroughfares and roads, the program has spurred an economic recovery that has been desperately needed by the local populace. Through reconstruction, rehabilitation, and development of pivotal groundwork, the Afghan government was able to develop its own capacity to operate and maintain this more sophisticated infrastructure. The effort included things like providing helicopters the access to project and emergency sites and larger vehicles the opportunity to deliver needed supplies to people in the area.

Further, the project extended beyond just building roads. It contributed to the vitality of overall infrastructure by supplementing power to support hard-hit cities like Kabul, where a shortage of power has been the way of life for several decades. By designing and constructing the 105-megawatt Tarakhil Power Plant in the area, the project has breathed new life into Afghanistan’s underlying systems.

While this influx of usable power has literally illuminated the region, it has also achieved another vital objective – to improve the quality of life for those who live there and enable them to find a reliable source of electric energy, even during peak periods.

Providing Access to Electricity Provides Stability

By doubling the available power in places like Kabul, the USAID program has contributed to a 90 percent increase in electricity in Afghanistan today. Not only has this increase in energy infrastructure improved the lives of the people, it has offered the government and its citizens the guarantee of safety in the event of a crisis, emergency, or natural disaster where the transmission lines are affected. With the creation of the new plant, power can be generated in the region despite those variables.

power lines

This is no small accomplishment. As a result of this assurance, hospitals, schools, and businesses are all able to stay open longer and provide improved services to the Afghan people, many of whom have never really known such national stability. Not only does this improve the quality of existing systems, but it invites growth by attracting investments and new commercial and industrial enterprises.

The logistics around security and protection of the populace is also improved by this supply of power, as authorities and local police are able to patrol, communicate, and execute directions more effectively. New jobs and overall economic growth are, of course, another effect of these changes, a particularly reassuring thought for such a war-torn region.

The Future of Infrastructure in Afghanistan

Although the Afghan government has yet to fully embrace independent maintenance of these roadways and systems, it is the goal of everyone involved. Factors like limited resources and fragmented institutional organization have presented challenges. However, international donors have committed to (at least temporarily) funding these efforts as a protection of their investment and endorsement of a brighter future for the Afghan people.

The Surprising Ways Education in Afghanistan Is on the Rise

The Surprising Ways Education in Afghanistan Is on the Rise

While Afghanistan has faced a great deal of political and social turmoil over the past few decades, it has still been able to achieve considerable progress in educating its citizens. In fact, some might even call Afghanistan an educational success story. Only 21 percent of children in the country were enrolled in primary school (grades… Continue Reading

These 2 Remarkable City Projects in Kuwait Will Amaze You

Kuwait is one the smallest countries in the Middle East, but also one of the most oil-rich. The country spans an area of just under 7,000 square miles with a population of about 3 million. The country’s robust oil reserves have provided it with a high global ranking in terms of per-capita wealth. Much of… Continue Reading

4 Automated Transit Projects in the UAE That Will Amaze You

4 Automated Transit Projects in the UAE That Will Amaze You

Public transportation is an important part of infrastructure development in the Middle East. In addition, it is a relatively new concept in the region, where the first mass transit system started in Dubai in 2009. Historically, many countries have focused on road development rather than subways or trains. The Middle East has a rapidly growing… Continue Reading

What You Need to Know about the World’s Largest Oil Fields

What You Need to Know about the World’s Largest Oil Fields

Countries in the Middle East accounted for more than a quarter of the world’s oil production in 2014. The world’s biggest offshore oil field is operated by Saudi Arabia’s national oil and gas company, and the world’s second-largest is located in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). Here is what you need to know about the… Continue Reading

6 of the Most Impressive Ports in the Middle East

6 of the Most Impressive Ports in the Middle East

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6 of Iran’s Most Beautiful Bridges, Old and New

6 of Iran’s Most Beautiful Bridges, Old and New

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5 Ways Qatar Is Preparing for the World Cup of a Lifetime

5 Ways Qatar Is Preparing for the World Cup of a Lifetime

In 2010, the Fédération Internationale de Football Association, or FIFA, announced that the 2022 FIFA World Cup would be held in Qatar. Held every four years, the FIFA World Cup is the world’s largest single-sport competition. Qatar will be the first Middle Eastern country to host the event. The opportunity to host the FIFA World… Continue Reading

A Look at 5 Airport Growth Projects in the Gulf

A Look at 5 Airport Growth Projects in the Gulf

Gulf countries have a reputation for having excellent, far-reaching airlines. Emirates Airlines, owned by the Dubai government, is the most commonly-used airline by international travelers. The location of the Gulf States facilitates their dominance in air transportation. Billions of people live within a day flight of this part of the world. Whether travelers are flying… Continue Reading

What You Need to Know about 5 Massive Saudi Arabian Transportation Projects

What You Need to Know about 5 Massive Saudi Arabian Transportation Projects

Saudi Arabia boasts one of the largest construction sectors in all of the Middle East, with more than $40 billion currently dedicated to infrastructure projects alone. Among these are initiatives to improve and expand existing rail lines, as well as create new ones, to better connect people and move commodities. These projects hold promise for… Continue Reading