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Reconstruction Efforts Spawn Hope in Southern Afghanistan

By Army Spc. Anna K. Perry
Special to American Forces Press Service

BAGRAM AIRFIELD, Afghanistan, Sept. 15, 2008 – Combined Joint Special Operations Task Force Afghanistan and the U.S. Agency for International Development have been working hand in hand with the local government in the Khas Oruzgan district of southern Afghanistan’s Oruzgan province on a number of developmental projects.

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A newly repaired mosque in the Khas Oruzgan district southern Afghanistan’s Oruzgan province stands ready for worshipers. The renovations were completed by Afghan villagers supported by U.S. Special Forces and the U.S. Agency for International Development. Courtesy photo

(Click photo for screen-resolution image);high-resolution image available.

“The team has a close relationship with the villagers in Khas Oruzgan and is trying to empower the district administration, improve security by partnering with the Afghan national security forces and reduce support for the insurgents,” a USAID representative said.

The organizations have developed a series of projects that not only improve quality of life at the workplace, at home and spiritually for the villagers in the district, but also give local men an opportunity to earn a living and support their families.

“We’ve been working on several projects in the area, including a cash-for-work bazaar ditch clean-up and road improvement in the main bazaar in Khas Oruzgan. The villagers are also working on a four-kilometer irrigation canal that is a food-for-work project,” the USAID representative said.

The two projects have been especially successful because they have brought together the Pashtun and Hazarra tribes, which have a history of conflict dating back for centuries.

“Both Pashtun and Hazarra men have joined hands to work together for the benefit of their village, which is quite an accomplishment and an extremely positive step forward for the people of Afghanistan,” the USAID representative said.

The community upgrading doesn’t stop there. Eight office buildings were recently reconstructed in Tarin Kowt, the provincial capital. They will house the provincial council and various government departments.

Haji Ghulam Nabbi, director of the information and culture department, said he is grateful for his new office building and the other projects being initiated in his district, including the repairs of Khas Oruzgan’s key mosque.

“The mosque was also in need of glass in the windows and a new loudspeaker, as well as the repairs to cracks in the walls and a roof over the ablution point,” the USAID representative said. The villagers now have a beautiful place to bask in the light of Allah, said Abdul Mohammad, a resident of a small village on the outskirts of Tarin Kowt. Soon, they will also be shrouded in another kind of light within the walls of their homes, he said.

“We will soon have replacement parts for the local micro-hydro plant. … When repaired, it will provide electricity to 5,000 households in Khas Oruzgan,” the USAID representative explained.

The combined efforts to improve the village have yielded results that have enhanced the lives of hundreds of families in Khas Oruzgan.

“This is a prime example the government of Afghanistan working for their people,” the USAID representative said.

(Army Spc. Anna K. Perry serves with Combined Joint Special Operations Task Force Afghanistan.)

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Related Sites:
Combined Joint Task Force 101
NATO International Security Assistance Force

Click photo for screen-resolution imageA key mosque in the Khas Oruzgan district of southern Afghanistan’s Oruzgan province is pictured before undergoing renovations. Courtesy photo  
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