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August 9, 2005 3:00 AM

Efforts to build Afghan road illuminate challenges, possibilities

Set on a high desert plain where dust devils dance across the parched soil, this American outpost of plywood shacks and shipping containers embodies the promise and problems of the U.S.-led effort to pacify Afghanistan nearly four years after the fall of the Taliban. The U.S. troops based here are striving to bring security, trade, jobs, development and the reach of the far-off central government to this isolated region by building a road from Highway One, the main national highway, at a point near the provincial capital of Qalat, to the town of Shin Kay, near the border with Pakistan.

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