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Afghan, Coalition Forces Build Bridges for Community

American Forces Press Service

KABUL, Afghanistan, Dec. 3, 2008 – Afghan and coalition forces celebrated with local villagers Dec. 1 at a ribbon-cutting for a new low-water bridge near Kandahar city.

The Commando Bridge will provide easier access to areas around the city, including a bazaar, a school under construction and a nearby highway.

A rainstorm several months ago flooded the creek that the new bridge spans, making travel through the area difficult, and Afghan army officials approached coalition forces about the need for a bridge. The project was funded through the Commanders’ Emergency Response Program, which allows leaders to fund projects that meet urgent needs of the local population.

For projects throughout Afghanistan, officials explained, a proper balance has to be reached between security and development; in this case, workers’ safety was a concern. But despite militants’ death threats against the workers, the project was completed within a few weeks and will be of great benefit to the community, said Brig. Gen. Shir Mohammad Zazai, commander of the Afghan National Army’s 205th Corps.

“I would like to thank everyone involved for their hard work in completing the Commando Bridge,” the general told those gathered at the ribbon-cutting. “These projects really help to improve the area and will help to make the area better.”

“It was very difficult last winter for people to travel and transport things through the area,” a laborer who worked on the bridge said. “They weren’t able to move things through easily. Now, it will be much easier.”

(From a U.S. Forces Afghanistan news release.)

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