Skip to comments.Baghdad's Highway Of Death 'Now Safe'
Posted on 12/09/2005 6:04:16 PM PST by blam
Baghdad's Highway of Death 'now safe'
By Oliver Poole in Baghdad
The US military says it has secured the road linking Baghdad airport to the city - two and a half years after American troops first entered the capital.
Attacks on the five-mile route have dropped from 142 between April and June to fewer than a dozen last month.
The road had been a glaring symbol of the US failure to control Iraq. It became known as the Highway of Death since the journey meant risking shootings, suicide car bombs and booby traps.
In April, 13 people were killed and 23 wounded along the road. In the next three months another 39 died and 17 were wounded. But since the summer there has been a concerted effort to wrest control from insurgents.
Military convoys that had previously sped through to avoid ambush slowed down and prepared to engage any attackers. US troops went into surrounding areas to carry out house-to-house searches and Iraqi army units manned checkpoints at each of the road's seven access routes.
In September and October only one person was killed and there has not been a suicide car bombing in the past three months.
Maj Gen Rick Lynch, the American military spokesman, this week called the road "one of the most safe and secure routes in all of Iraq".
However, this being Iraq, that safety is relative. The road may no longer be a death trap but it is far from free of gunfire. My flight into the city from Jordan on Wednesday was aborted after the pilot reported that, as he started his descent, the airport was being attacked by insurgents.
Senior US and British officials still travel to the Green Zone from the airport by helicopter, while US soldiers and government employees travel to and from it in armoured buses called Rhinos that move only at night and are supported by low-flying helicopters.
As for the rest of the city, roadside bombs, assassinations and kidnappings remain terrifyingly common.
I've been on the Highway of Death. I've also driven through Boston on 95.
I'll take Baghdad any day.
I STILL wanna go there when I have enough lettuce put away for my World Tour.
Your lettuce might go farther in Iraq. Not sure if it grows well there.
Boston or Baghdad?
I wish I had gotten to see Babylon but I was too far north.
there's got to be at least 10 times more patriotism for their own country in Baghdad than in Bah-stuhn.
Amen. Just the same, I think I'd only go back to Baghdad after the terrorists are rounded up and shot. The locals will only take so much for so long.
Once they put Saddam back in a hole in the ground (6ft or so), things will start looking up.