Car bombing damages key Kandahar bridge

A car bombing destroyed a key bridge in Arghandab district of southern Kandahar province, officials and local residents said on Friday.

Police spokesman Jamal Nasir Barakzai told Pajhwok Afghan News the explosives-laden Humvee vehicle was identified and shot at by police and it was exploded before reaching the target.

He said the last night’s blast caused no casualties and denied it damaged the bridge connecting Arghandab district with the provincial capital, Kandahar city.

But local officials and residents today confirmed the explosion had damaged the bridge, making it impassable.

A senior intelligence official said security forces identified and fired at the explosives-laden vehicle at around 8:10pm last night. He said the blast damaged the bridge.

Kandahar rural development head Mohammad Nasim Ayubi termed the destruction of the bridge a huge loss for residents of the district.

He said the bridge was used by Arghandab district residents to bring needed things from Kandahar city.

He said the 180-meter long and seven meter wide bridge was constructed a decade ago at a cost of $2.5 million funded by the Canadian international development agency (CIDA).

The director said as Covid-19 had affected the country’s economy and it would be hard to reconstruct the bridge for the government.

The bridge destruction has saddened local residents of Arghandab. Local resident Haji Dadullah said the two-month old conflict in Arghandab had caused huge financial losses to local residents.

He said the conflict not only destroyed people’s homes and orchards but it also damaged public welfare projects.

He said the Arghandab bridge was used by local residents to transport their agriculture goods to Kandahar city. He said the bridge had been constructed with aid money and its destruction was a huge injustice with local population.

The Taliban have so far said nothing in this regard.

Arghandab district is situated seven kilometers north of Kandahar city.

About a month back, the Taliban insurgents attacked the district, capturing security check posts and areas up to Arghandab river, but the rebels were forced to retreat as a result of massive security operations.

Dozens of Taliban insurgents have arrived in the district, engaging security forces and forcing hundreds of families to flee homes for Kandahar city.