by Carmen Gentile
Special for USA TODAY
The chief intelligence officer in this rustic town has reason to worry. Fareed, who like many Afghans goes by a single name, sat on the floor of his office and described the myriad armed gunmen operating in this part of Nangarhar province, an economically vital region of Afghanistan.
Nangarhar is home to a critical stretch of Highway 7, running between the town of Torkham on the Afghan-Pakistani border and the Afghan capital, Kabul. It serves as the main conduit for goods such as fuel and food from Pakistan to much of eastern Afghanistan and is the target for regular insurgent attacks.
U.S. forces and their Afghan allies are trying to keep the road open and secure.
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