Highway of Death
Posted by Fredsvenn den februar 27, 2013
The Highway of Death refers to a six-lane highway between Kuwait and Iraq, officially known as Highway 80. It runs from Kuwait City, Kuwait to the border town of Safwan, Iraq and then on to Basra, Iraq. The road had been used by Iraqi armed divisions for the 1990 Invasion of Kuwait. The road was repaired after the Gulf War and used by U.S. and British forces in the initial stages of the 2003 invasion of Iraq.
During the United Nations coalition offensive in the Gulf War, American and Canadian aircraft and ground forces attacked retreating Iraqi military personnel and others escaping Kuwait on the night of February 26-27, 1991, resulting in the destruction of hundreds of vehicles and the deaths of many of their occupants. U.S. attacks against the Iraqi columns were actually conducted on two different roads. Between 1,400 and 2,000 vehicles were hit or abandoned on the main Highway 80 north of Al Jahra (the «actual» Highway of Death). Several hundred more littered the lesser known Highway 8 to the major southern Iraq military stronghold of Basra.
The scenes of devastation on the road are some of the most recognizable images of the war, and were publicly cited as a factor in President George H. W. Bush’s decision to declare a cessation of hostilities the next day. Many Iraqi forces, however, successfully escaped across the Euphrates river, and the U.S. Defense Intelligence Agency estimated that upwards of 70,000 to 80,000 troops from defeated divisions in Kuwait might have fled into the city of Basra.