Afghanistan Infrastructure and Rehabilitation Services Program(IRP) written in English, Dari and Pashto
Keshim-Faizabad Road, looking upstream on Kotcha River Schoolgirls at well pumping clean water Afghan workers building part of a bridge Asphalt being laid on an Afghan road A section of North West Kabul Power Plant Aerial view of the Kajakai Dam

Kabul to Badakhshan in 12 Hours or Less
A new bus traveling between Kabul and Faizabad travels down a newly paved road in less than 12 hours.
A new bus traveling between Kabul and Faizabad now arrives in less than 12 hours, speeding people and goods to their destination and bringing improved access to medical care, education and markets.
A bus trip between Kabul and Faizabad, the provincial capital of Afghanistan’s northernmost province, used to take at least two days. Today, thanks to major road improvements and improved transportation services, the travel time has been drastically reduced, bringing improved access to medical care, education and markets to this remote provincial capital.

Bordered by the Hindu Kush mountain range, Badakhshan province has long been isolated from its neighbors to the south. Older residents can remember a time when the trip between Faizabad and Kabul took two months.

Now, with improvements to a 103-kilometer segment of road connecting Faizabad to Keshim and points south, a bus that departs Kabul in the morning can deliver its passengers to waiting relatives and friends in Faizabad in less than 12 hours.

Improvements in road quality and transportation services are also reflected in reduced travel costs. The usual price of a one-way bus ticket has dropped from $40 to $14.

When USAID launched a project to build a road between Keshim and Faizabad under its Afghanistan Infrastructure and Rehabilitation Program, everyone knew that the task would be daunting. Narrow canyons channeled water across the roadbed. Opposing rock formations prohibited construction anywhere except over the mountainous terrain, and extensive rock blasting was required.

Today, after the construction of seven bridges and more than 600 culverts, the Keshim-to-Faizabad road is nearly complete. Application of the first of two asphalt pavement layers on the remaining 30 kilometer segment of roadbed is ongoing, and the entire road will receive a second asphalt layer as the weather warms in the summer. Fully paved, the road will smoothly link the country’s most remote provincial capital to all points south as well as open up access to the border with China to the east.

The improved access means the region’s stunning lapis lazuli jewelry will reach more markets. The huge pomegranates for which the region is known will reach markets in better condition, commanding competitive prices and increasing the incomes of area farmers.

The new road and new bus line have sparked optimism among residents of the provincial capital and created new opportunities to improve the local economy. Bright prospects for Badakhshan and its people are now on the horizon.

For more information on how road improvements are making travel between Kabul and Badakhshan Province faster, easier and safer, see The Road Ahead for Bamyan and Dushi.

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