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Afghans, USAID Work Economic Plan for Khowst Province

By Gerry J. Gilmore
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Feb. 15, 2005 – The Afghan government and the U.S. Agency for International Development are partnering to put Khowst province on the high road to economic prosperity, an American military official said Feb. 14.

Click photo for screen-resolution image
Maj. Carl Hollister, commander of the Khowst provincial reconstruction team, speaks at a mullah conference Dec. 6 at Khowst (Afghanistan) University. Photo by Cpl. Justin Schaeffer

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

Khowst spans across southeastern Afghanistan and shares a 140-kilometer-long border with neighboring Pakistan, noted Army Maj. Carl Hollister, commander of the Khowst provincial reconstruction team and a member of the 412th Civil Affairs Battalion.

The province boasts "an ideal location to facilitate trade," Hollister pointed out. Accordingly, he said, the province's governor and the Khowst PRT "have been working together to develop this province into the economic engine" for southeastern Afghanistan.

As part of that partnership, Hollister said, the governor and the PRT have formulated a five-year economic plan for Khowst. The plan features six areas of focus: education, healthcare, water, energy, reconstruction and economic development.

The provincial government, Hollister said, wants to expand the number of schools and hospitals, as well as to improve the water supply system for drinking, irrigation and sanitation purposes.

A new electric power-grid system is nearing completion in Matun district, Hollister said. And, he noted, the PRT is working with the Asia Development Bank and other organizations to find other ways to produce energy for the province.

A good road network is necessary for healthy trade, Hollister remarked, noting, "Roads are being built throughout the (Khowst) province."

The USAID, he noted, is leading efforts to construct provincial district government buildings for elected officials, police, and courts.

Hollister said the PRT is also assisting the Khowst province government in developing new marketplaces. The soon-to-be-established Khowst Economic Development Corporation, he said, will coordinate foreign investment targeted for the province. A provincial chamber of commerce will also be established.

The 412th Civil Affairs Battalion is an Army Reserve special operations unit from Whitehall, Ohio. The 412th is in Afghanistan to conduct civil-military operations in the Khowst province in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.

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