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New Projects, Training Opportunity Mark Progress in Afghanistan

American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Oct. 24, 2006 – Military officials in Afghanistan reported several new examples of ongoing progress: resumption of a road project in Paktika province, a new well for a school in Panjshir province, and the training of Afghan soldiers and police in the United States.

Construction of the Naka Bazaar Cobblestone Road in Naika district has resumed after being halted in May due to security concerns, officials said. The project, which employs 60 local Afghans at an estimated cost of $199,000, will link villages in Paktika province and improve its economic viability.

Taliban extremists dug up many of the cobblestones that had been laid, destroyed the contractor’s materials and equipment, and threatened his life this summer, said Maj. Matthew Hackathorn, a Combined Joint Task Force 76 spokesman. Construction resumed recently with the help of the Afghan National Army, Afghan National Police and International Security Assistance Force troops helping to secure the area, he said.

In another sign of progress, more than 1,900 Afghan students at the Rohka district school now have access to fresh, clean water, thanks to provincial officials and their partnership with U.S. forces, officials said. Students previously drank water drawn from a nearby irrigation ditch.

Local officials, residents and students joined the Panjshir Provincial Reconstruction Team during Oct. 21 dedication ceremonies. The U.S. Commander’s Emergency Response Program paid for the $25,000 project. During the dedication, children were treated to 500 kits of school supplies, including backpacks, pens, pencils, notepads, and for the top two students, bicycles.

Local officials called the well project an important contribution to Afghanistan’s future. “These children will shape that future,” said Fletcher Burton, Panjshir PRT director.

Meanwhile, Afghanistan’s security forces continue to increase their capability, with some of their members now in the United States to train with their U.S. counterparts.

A platoon from the Afghan National Army’s 201st Corps arrived yesterday to take part in exercise Unified Endeavor at Fort Polk, La. The Afghan soldiers, along with members of the Afghan National Police, will train with the U. S. Army’s 82nd Airborne Division, which will form the core of CJTF 76 when it deploys to Afghanistan in February.

“This will pay big dividends when the two forces are fighting along side each other in Afghanistan," said Lt. Col. Robert Tallman, Combined Security Transition Command Afghanistan spokesman.

(Compiled from Combined Forces Command Afghanistan news releases.)

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Related Sites:
Combined Forces Command Afghanistan
Combined Joint Task Force 76

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