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Afghan Reconstruction Projects Continue

American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Nov. 6, 2006 – Reconstruction projects continue in Afghanistan with an agricultural extension center being expanded and construction for an urgent care facility beginning, officials in Afghanistan said.

The Zormat agricultural extension center is being refurbished and expanded in the Zormat district of Paktya province. The $22,535 project is funded by the U.S. Gardez Provincial Reconstruction Team in conjunction with local officials. The project began in August and will be completed in the spring.

“The purpose of this project is to help farmers grow bigger, healthier crops so they can earn an income rather than just support their own families,” said Army Lt. Col. Paul Fitzpatrick, spokesman for Combined Joint Task Force 76. “A stronger agricultural community will improve the economic outlook for the people of Paktya.”

In Kabul, Afghan and coalition officials today are laying a cornerstone for an urgent care facility. The clinic is scheduled to open early in 2007 at a cost of $670,000, funded by the U.S. Defense Reconstruction Support Office. The clinic will minimize patient overload at other hospital emergency departments and permit affordable services based on each patient's ability to pay. The clinic will be under the direction of the Afghan Ministry of Public Health and will provide employment to 28 Afghan health care workers.

"The development of this clinic is another step towards the improvement of conditions for the Afghan people. There is no substitute to the access of urgent medical care," said Col. Donald Johnson, command surgeon for Combined Forces Command Afghanistan.

Finally, coalition forces along with local Afghan elders held a weeklong sports tournament in Chamkani district, Paktya province. The tournament ended Oct. 29. Twenty-eight cricket teams and 24 soccer teams competed in the tournament. More than 1,000 athletes participated in the sports events, and 500 to 800 spectators attended and cheered on the athletes each day.

Until November 2001, when U.S.-led coalition forces defeated the Taliban regime, such sporting events were outlawed.

(Compiled from Combined Forces Command Afghanistan news releases.)

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