The Taliban Just Killed 35 Workers On The $3-Million-A-Mile Afganistan Highway

afghanistan, daily life, jan 2011

[credit provider=”AP”]

The Taliban attacked a road crew working on the Gardez-Khost Highway in Afghanistan today killing 35 workers and wounding another 20. The fighting lasted for five hours, according to Al Jazeera, also killing an untold number of Taliban.Khost Highway construction is American funded, terribly over budget, and far from complete.

The $121 million spent so far on the project includes $1 million a year for protection to a local figure named Arafat, who may be playing both sides to accrue a small fortune, according to the New York Times.

The 64-mile highway is intended to tie together remote portions of the Afghan government, but finished portions are already crumbling and becoming impassable. At $2.8 million a mile to construct, the project is projected to cost $176 million — 100 per cent greater than expected.

The unfinished portion runs directly through Taliban territory and even with the $43.5 million spent on security, experts wonder how it can be completed.

Today’s attack is thought to have incurred the highest death toll since February’s attack on a Jalalabad bank, killing local employees cashing their paychecks.

The Taliban have stepped up attacks since the killing of Osama Bin Laden May 2.