High School Reopens in Afghanistan's Nangarhar Province
By Capt. Dan Huvane, USMC
American Forces Press Service
JALALABAD AIRFIELD, Afghanistan, March 29, 2006 Hundreds of people gathered March 25 to celebrate the renovation of Agam High School in the Pachir wa Agam district in Afghanistan's Nangarhar province.
Sayeed Rahman, sub-governor of Pachir wa Agam district in Afghanistan's Nangarhar province, cuts the ribbon at the reopening ceremony of Agam High School on March 25. At left is Marine Capt. Bart Battista, commander of B Company, 1st Battalion, 3rd Marine Regiment. Behind him is Army Maj. Dennis C. Edwards, the battalion civil affairs officer. At right is Nu Salaam, the president of Agam High School. Photo by Capt. Dan Huvane, USMC
(Click photo for screen-resolution image);high-resolution image available.
Coalition forces funded the $25,000 project.
Mohammed Sadiq, the school's primary headmaster, welcomed district Sub-governor Sayeed Rahman, other officials and faculty to the festive event, along with national and border police officers, and U.S. soldiers and Marines.
"Today, I am happy to see so many children at this school from this mountain area," Sadiq said through an interpreter. "This is the witness that we can show to the people of this district and the world, that Americans are not here to destroy, as the enemies of Afghanistan say. They have come from many places far away, and they give their funds to help us.
"We want our children to be like other countries' children, with chairs to sit on, books to read, and a roof over their heads," he continued. "With your help and cooperation, the children of Afghanistan can be more like them."
The project's chief engineer, Abdul Khalil, implored the students to take care of their school, as funds for such projects are precious.
The 2nd Battalion, 3rd Marine Regiment, which since has departed Afghanistan, funded the project with Commander's Emergency Response Program funds. The regiment's successor, the 1st Battalion, 3rd Marines, supervised the work, which included a new well.
Marine Capt. Bart Battista, commander of the 1/3 Marines, Company B, reminded officials that further improvements will be tied to the local security situation. "We help the government when we can and where we can, and are always very happy to do it. But we must work together to improve security here, so that more help comes from nongovernmental organizations," he said.
"To the children here today: You are the future of the district," Battista continued. "Study hard so that you can be the teachers, headmasters or even the sub-governor. The only way you can do that is by applying yourself to your work."
(Marine Capt. Dan Huvane is assigned to Task Force Lava Public Affairs.)