Highway 1 is the Afghan Highway to Hell
With everything that’s going on in Afghanistan at the moment, you’d imagine that there’s a fair few dangerous roads over there and you’d more than likely be right! The Kabul-Kandahar Highway part is a 483-kilometer (300-mile) road linking Afghanistan's two largest cities, Kabul and Kandahar.
This Highway 1 or A01, formally called the Ring Road, is a key portion of Afghanistan's national road system or "Ring Road"a 2,200 kilometer nationwide highway network circulating Afghanistan, connecting Kabul, Ghazni, Kandahar, Farah, Herat, and Mazar. The United States funded the repair and rebuilding of 389 kilometers of road, while Japan funded 50 kilometers. 43 kilometers of the highway were already usable prior to the repairs. The rebuilding project was overseen by the Louis Berger Group, with assistance in planning and design by Turkish and Indian engineers. Phase one of paving was completed in December 2003 and the highway was opened to traffic. The journey used to take travelers two days but now takes about 6 hours.
This paved road is extremely dangerous because the taliban and insurgent attacks and ambushes, roadside bombs, extreme weather conditions, local militias acting as ‘traffic police’ and lots of small arms fire and mortars. The narrow, winding road climbs 600-meters through the Kabul gorge; however, the brutal landscape and poor infrastructure is only part of the problem. The road snakes deep through Taliban territory, and the threat of insurgency is what makes Highway 1 so dangerous. Police checkpoints are scattered along the road, and patrols are sent out daily to secure portions of the highway when NATO convoys pass. Roadside bombs, ambushes, mortars, small arms fire, and extreme weather make Highway 1 one of the most dangerous roads in the world. If you do choose this route please check up to date information due to the security situation. Obviously you would have to really (!) check what is going on now. You might want to contact your embassy in Kabul as they have really the best info about terrorist attacks, ongoing armed conflict, risk of kidnapping and high crime rate.
Pic: Leonard J. DeFrancisci [CC BY-SA 3.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0) or GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html)], via Wikimedia Commons