DAND DISTRICT, Kandahar Province – Sunlight penetrates the cracks between patches of dark clouds, lighting half of Deh Ghulaman village. Sayed Mohammad, 45, sits on a small rug and leans against a wall, watching a tractor plow the field. A bit further on, a young man is sowing seeds.
Sayed Mohammad, a farmer in Deh Ghulaman village, is thankful that life has improved because he now enjoys a better income and quicker access to essential services and facilities. This he attributes to the construction of an all-weather road connecting his village and three others to Kandahar city, the provincial capital. “Thank God, our village road is now paved and, as a result, our situation has improved,” he says.
The farmers in these villages are no longer in the hands of middlemen, selling their produce directly in the markets. “In the past when the road was unpaved, we could not take our agricultural products to the market in time,” says Sayed Mohammad. “Shopkeepers used to come to the village and buy our products at half the market price. Now we go to the market ourselves and sell them at the market price.”
The road, paved in 2013, passes through the villages of Deh Ghulaman, Rohabad, Rawani, and Khaaja Ali. Together these four villages are known as Chahr Deh and are located southeast of Dand district in Kandahar city. The road connects Chahr Deh with the center of Kandahar city, the provincial capital of Kandahar Province, 20 kilometers away.
Not only has the all-weather road helped improve the economic situation of the local population, it has also helped save lives. Sayed Mohammad recalls a tragic memory before the road was paved. “One day, when the road was bumpy and unpaved, we had a sick person who required urgent medical care,” he says. “We decided to take him to the health center by tractor. Unfortunately, the tractor took a long time to reach the health center and the patient lost his life along the way.”