|History and Biodata
1. Former Head of Salang Pass Tunnel Maintenance Department Operative Director of Salang Pass Safety and Protection Unit:
Lt Gen Mohammad Abdul Rajab (2001, 20100517, 20140904, 20160210)
Samiullah Walizada (20200122, 20200213, 20201212)
2. Previous Function:
Head of Salang Pass Tunnel Maintenance Department (20201212)
Background Salang Tunnel and Highway:
The Salang Highway is the only road that connects north and south Afghanistan almost all year round. Most of the mountain passes are impassable in winter because of heavy snows and freezing conditions. But the Salang stays open thanks to a 2.6km tunnel more than 3,400m above sea level. It was built by Soviet and Afghan engineers in 1964. At the time it was the highest and the longest tunnel in the world. Just two lanes wide, it is largely unlit, and faulty fans mean it is choked with exhaust fumes, making it almost impossible to breathe. The road was built for 2,000 cars a day, but today 8,000, 9,000, sometimes 10,000 vehicles come cross in a 24-hour period. Lieutenant General Mohammed Rajab, the officer in charge of the road, says there are around 250 avalanches every year. The tunnel's worst crash claimed 180 lives when a Russian fuel tanker exploded in 1982.