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U.S. Army Engineers Develop Facilities For Afghan Security Forces

By Gerry J. Gilmore
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Oct. 25, 2004 – A U.S. military official outlined progress today on how the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is using its know-how to provide headquarters buildings, barracks and training facilities for Afghanistan's security forces.

"We are pleased to be here in Afghanistan applying our expertise in civil works and military construction programs for the benefit of the Afghan people," said Army Col. John O'Dowd, commander of the Afghanistan Engineer District, during a Combined Forces Command Afghanistan press conference.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, O'Dowd said, "is playing an important role in helping the Afghan people establish a safe and secure environment free from terrorism."

As part of that mission, U.S. soldiers "are applying our engineering expertise to the development of facilities for both U.S. operations and emerging Afghan security forces, including the Afghanistan National Army and the Afghanistan National Police."

The Corps of Engineers, O'Dowd added, also provides technical assistance for U.S. Agency for International Development-sponsored projects in Afghanistan, including the building of roads, schools, medical clinics, and power and water facilities.

American engineers in the Kabul area used U.S. military facilities as a blueprint to build three barracks that will house 15,000 Afghan soldiers from the Afghan Army Central Corps.

Overall, the Corps of Engineers has overseen the construction of 302 major structures in Afghanistan, including 186 barracks buildings, 22 administration buildings, four dining facilities and 89 support facilities, O'Dowd said.

Each facility is designed and built with Afghan culture and customs in mind. For example, O'Dowd explained, the newly constructed Afghan dining facilities feature wood-burning stoves and tea-preparation stations. Also, each installation will have at least one mosque on site.

And, O'Dowd noted, the new and renovated buildings are reinforced against earthquakes, which are known to occur in Afghanistan.

U.S. engineers in Afghanistan are also building four regional command centers in Herat, Kandahar, Mazar-e Sharif and Gardez to support an Afghan National Army of 70,000, O'Dowd said.

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