Afghanistan road to ‘solve all problems’

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Written by U.S. Air Force 2nd Lt. Jason Smith, Panjshir Provincial Reconstruction Team Tuesday, 20 July 2010 17:10

PANJSHIR PROVINCE, Afghanistan – (left to right) Panjshir Provincial Deputy Gov. Abdul Rahman Kabiri, Bill Martin, U.S. Department of State and Panjshir Provincial Reconstruction Team director, and Panjshir Gov. Keramuddin Keram, participate in a ribbon-cutting ceremony in the Paryan District here. The group formally opened construction July 19 on Section 3.5 of the only main road running through the valley. (Photo by U.S. Air Force 2nd Lt. Jason Smith, Panjshir PRT Public Affairs)PANJSHIR PROVINCE, Afghanistan – An Afghan contractor broke ground July 19 to connect two areas of the only major road running through Panjshir Province in Afghanistan. 

Panjshir Provincial Gov. Keramuddin Keram, Deputy Gov. Abdul Rahman Kabiri, various district governors and members of the Afghan media were among those on hand to witness the ribbon-cutting ceremony at Section 3.5 of the road in the Paryan District. 

“If the road progresses, all of our problems will be solved,” said Qabulalah, a local 19-year-old resident, through an interpreter. “If we have someone who needs a hospital, we can get them there quickly. It has many other benefits also.”

During his speech at the ceremony, Keram said, through an interpreter, the extension of the road will benefit all Panjshiris, but especially those who live in Paryan.

“Paryan people have a lot of problems in their lives,” said Keram. “They have no road and no power. This road will solve all of their problems.”

Keram talked about the future of the fledgling project well past its completion. He said it is the responsibility of the people to maintain the road once it’s finished.

“Local people have cooperated with the government, and I hope they will continue to cooperate,” said Keram. “I hope you don’t trash or break the road. I also hope the chief of police and district governor pay attention to the maintenance of the road.”

Paryan District Gov. Ghulam Sakhi said, through an interpreter, that he appreciates all the work the Panjshir Provincial Reconstruction Team engineers have done to make the project a reality. The current dirt trail is dangerous and the district truly needs the road.

Sakhi wasn’t the only district governor looking forward to the completion of the road. Dara District Gov. Malom Sorab said, through an interpreter, that the road will run all the way to Badakhshan Province and eventually into China.

“This is real progress,” said Sorab. “When the Dara section of the road was finished, all of the people greatly benefitted. The prices went down on food and other things because products were readily available. It made travel so easy.”

Section 3.5 is approximately 1.6 kilometers and costs roughly $850,000, said U.S. Air Force 1st Lt. Jason Adams, PRT Panjshir civil engineer. He said the contractor has 365 days to finish the two-lane, paved road. Once done, the road will connect Sections 3 and 4, which are both currently under construction.

Adams, a Glendale, Ariz., native, said the construction season in this northern area of the province is from April through November depending on the weather. The sooner the road is done, the better for the people living there, he said.

“It’s important because it improves the quality of life,” said Adams. “It decreases the amount of time it takes to get to hospitals, Kabul and just basic necessities. It opens commerce for an area of Afghanistan that hasn’t had a lot of goods and services available in the past. Most importantly, it connects the Paryan government with the rest of the districts in the province and the central government.”

Following speeches and a traditional Afghan lunch, the governor, deputy governor and Bill Martin, U.S. Department of State and PRT Panjshir director, cut a ceremonial ribbon to open the construction project. All involved said they hope the contractor can finish ahead of the scheduled 365 days.

PANJSHIR PROVINCE, Afghanistan – Bill Martin, U.S. Department of State and Panjshir Provincial Reconstruction Team director, gives a speech during a ribbon-cutting ceremony in the Paryan District here. The group formally opened construction July 19 on Section 3.5 of the only main road running through the valley. (Photo by U.S. Air Force 1st Lt. Holly A. Hess, Panjshir PRT Public Affairs)PANJSHIR PROVINCE, Afghanistan – U.S. Air Force 1st Lt. Jason Adams from Glendale, Ariz., and a Panjshir Provincial Reconstruction Team civil engineer, gives a speech during a ribbon-cutting ceremony in the Paryan District here. The group formally opened construction July 19 on Section 3.5 of the only main road running through the valley. (Photo by U.S. Air Force 1st Lt. Holly A. Hess, Panjshir PRT Public Affairs)

Last Updated on Tuesday, 20 July 2010 17:20