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 Home > News & Policies > December 2003

For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
December 16, 2003

Statement by the President

December 16, 2003


More than a year ago, Afghan President Hamid Karzai broke ground on the reconstruction of a highway that -- when completed -- will run through the heart of Afghanistan, helping to unify that great nation. The United States and Japan pledged to provide financing and personnel to the project, and we further pledged that the first leg -- the 300 miles from the capital of Kabul to the important city of Kandahar -- would be completed by the end of this year.

Today, we have met that pledge, as the first phase of paving the Kabul-Kandahar leg of the highway is completed under budget and ahead of schedule. This new road reduces travel time between Kabul to Kandahar to five hours. It will promote political unity between Afghanistan's provinces, facilitate commerce by making it easier to bring products to market, and provide the Afghan people with greater access to health care and educational opportunities.

I am grateful for the enormous efforts of engineers and laborers from many countries who worked tirelessly, and often in the face of hardship and danger, to finish this leg of the road on time. This accomplishment underscores the firm commitment of the United States and coalition to support the Afghan people as they build a democratic, stable, and thriving Afghanistan.