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A raft of new infrastructure projects are planned for eastern Nangarhar province in 2013, including a second highway through the province linking the Afghan capital Kabul with Torkham, the business port in Pakistan just over the Afghan-Pakistani border.

"We are endeavoring to resolve the current issues in different districts of this province by using these projects," Minister of Public Works Najibullah Ojan said Thursday.

According to the ministry, apart from second Kabul-Torkham Highway, there will also be a bridge built in Behsood district that will cost around $150 million, a second road in Sorkh Rood district, and another road in the Lata Band area of Kabul's Khak-e-Jabbar district which borders Nangarhar.

In a visit to Nangarhar with Ojan, the Minister of Transport and Civil Aviation indicated that he is looking at improving and better equipping the civil section of Nangarhar Airport to help resolve its problems, but first needs to have control of the airport returned to the ministry.

Minister Daoud Ali Najafi said Nangarhar airport is still under the control of international forces. It was handed to them by the Defence Ministry a few years ago when it was struggling with some problems.

"We are going through discussions with the Ministry of Defence to take back the civil section, and resolve its problems by equipping it," Najafi said.

A number of Nangarhar residents have said in the past that despite government promises of improved infrastructure, in reality the projects often are slow to implement and some of the contracted companies appear to lack the capacity to build the projects they are responsible for.

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