The contract for Technical Studies and Designing Salang was signed

The contract for technical studies and detailed design of Salang's new tunnel today was signed between the Ministry of Public Welfare and SMEC Australian Company worth $ 19.6 million at the Office of the Chief Executive.

At the signing ceremony, the Minister of Public Welfare, Mahmood Baligh said fifty years has passed since construction of the Salang tunnel by the Soviet Union of Russia and due to inappropriate conditions of the country, the tunnel has been seriously damaged.

The Minister of Public Welfare emphasized on the need for reconstruction of the current tunnel and other alternatives to Salang, and said on the basis of this agreement, funded by Asian Development Bank (ADB) and Japan, the Australian company would conduct their studies on the options available such as Khavak-Khenjan, Dushi-Bamiyan, reconstruction of current tunnel and construction of a new tunnel and would announce the appropriate option to the Afghan government.

Then, Thomas Panella, ADB’s country director spoke about construction of the Salang Road and importance of the project for Afghanistan's economy and development.

He said reconstruction of the Salang road is important not only for the economy and agriculture of Afghanistan, but also for transportation and transit system of the region. The director of Asian Development Bank added that through this road, central Asia will be connected to the South of Asia.

Then, Sadiq Ahmed Osmani, Parwan's MP said reconstruction of the Salang tunnel is important not only economically, but also politically.

While welcoming start of the Salang project, Parwan's MP thanked Japan and ADB for their sincere contributions and said Japan's aid was very effective in Afghanistan and that least corruption and misuse of contributions has been reported.

Senate secretary Faisal Samee’ also said the Salang construction project is not only important for the Afghan people but for the countries of the region as well.

Mr. Samee’ called Salang's current situation awful and criticized the delay in contracts of road construction that took place at the National Procurement Commission.

Then, Mitsuji Suzuka Japan's ambassador to Kabul called Afghanistan a connecting bridge of the region and said Afghanistan’s geographic location is very important.

Mr. Suzuka spoke about the importance of the Salang Road, adding that this is the only route connecting the North of Afghanistan to the South.

Stating that Japan will fund 53% of this project, Japan's ambassador said, “Japan has always contributed to Afghanistan as a trusted friend.” He also added that his country contributed $ 6.2 billion to Afghanistan over the past 15 years.

In the end, Dr. Abdullah, Chief Executive of the National Unity Government said, “I am happy that today I witness signing a contract that is of great importance for economic improvement, transportation and transit system of the country.

The Chief Executive mentioned construction of Salang Road as part of the National Unity Government's obligations to the people, saying that the current route does not suffice necessity of transportation, traffic and commercial and economic activities and that is why we have come to construct an alternative route.

Dr. Abdullah said that work on Dushi-Bamiyan road project is under way and some measures have been taken on Khavak road.

The Chief Executive acclaimed Japan and Asian Development Bank’s prominent contributions to reconstruction and development of Afghanistan and recognized Japan as a reliable friend of Afghanistan.

Dr. Abdullah apologized people for the delay in construction of Salangs and praised patience of those who are passing through this route. The Chief Executive directed the Ministry of Public Welfare to provide necessary facilities for traffic of Salangs until the reconstruction project is completed.

Dr. Abdullah pointed to Central Asian countries that are looking forward to development of Afghanistan and said reconstruction of Salangs will play a significant role in regional transportation and transit as well as in connecting South and Central Asia.

The Chief Executive, addressing Ministry of Public Welfare and Australian company, emphasized on the quality and standard of this national project and said the project will play a significant role for the future of Afghanistan.

The Chief Executive asked Japan's friendly country to sponsor and support Bagram-Jabal-ul-Seraj road, where technical studies and design were finalized.