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PANJSHIR PROVINCE, Afghanistan – Panjshir Gov. Keramuddin Keram, Panjshir Deputy Gov. Abdul Rahman Kabiri, and U.S. Army Col. Hunter Mathews, Kentucky Agribusiness Development Team II commander from Lexington, Ky., speak to the media at a ground-breaking ceremony Oct. 10 commemorating the first tree planted for the Panjshir greenbelt project. Approximately 35,000 trees will be planted throughout the province as part of a reforestation project over the next three months. (Photo by U.S. Air Force 1st Lt. Holly Hess, Panjshir Provincial Reconstruction Team Public Affairs)PANJSHIR PROVINCE, Afghanistan – The first tree of the Panjshir greenbelt project was planted on a hillside near Massoud’s Tomb in Bazarak during a ground-breaking ceremony Oct. 10.

The tree was the first of 35,000 trees to be planted throughout the province as part of a reforestation project.

Panjshir Gov. Keramuddin Keram; Panjshir Deputy Gov. Abdul Rahman Kabiri; Hashmatulah Enayat, the Panjshir Director of Agriculture, Irrigation and Livestock; U.S. Army Col. Hunter Mathews, Kentucky Agribusiness Development Team II commander; Elizabeth Smithwick, U.S. Agency for International Development lead field officer at Panjshir Provincial Reconstruction Team and acting PRT director; U.S. Army Lt. Col. Jay Briggs, Panjshir PRT commander; U.S. Army Lt. Col. Jeffrey Casada, Kentucky National Guard ADT leader with Panjshir PRT; Jim Hoffman, U.S. Department of Agriculture advisor to Panjshir PRT; Jean-Pierre Detry, Roots of Peace lead extension advisor; and members of the Afghan media were among those to witness the ceremony.

“Due to many years of war, the people and environment of Afghanistan are damaged by the fighting,” said Keram through an interpreter. “This is true especially in Panjshir. There are no trees; the environment is devastated.”

The Panjshir governor continued his speech and emphasized the importance of caring for the trees.

“Try to imagine the beauty of the trees and vegetation in the future. We need to take care of these trees now,” said Keram. “I am asking for your help to do this. These trees are important.”

The project was made possible by the Commander’s Emergency Response Program with oversight by Roots of Peace, a non-profit organization dedicated to removing landmines and spreading agriculture in war-torn nations.

The greenbelt will contribute to cleaner water, slope stabilization and help decrease soil erosion, said Casada, a London, Ky., native. He also said 70 new jobs will be created in the province for the upkeep of the trees for one year.

“There are many benefits of this project, but the most important thing is for the people to take care of the trees, to ensure sheep and goats don’t graze on them,” Casada continued. “The seedlings won’t survive if that happens.”

Approximately 30 to 35 percent of the trees planted in the greenbelt are expected to live, said Casada.

“But we are using a lot of different techniques to increase the success rate,” Casada said. “For instance, we are using landscape fabric to keep in moisture and minimize weeds.”

“As in any great project, it has taken many great partners to cooperate on this,” said Mathews from Lexington, Ky. “Most importantly, the hard work of the people of Panjshir.”

The ceremony concluded with the Panjshir governor and Kentucky ADT II commander planting the first trees.PANJSHIR PROVINCE, Afghanistan – Hashmatulah Enayat, Panjshir Director of Agriculture, Irrigation and Livestock, hands Panjshir Gov. Keramuddin Keram the first seedling to be planted in the Panjshir greenbelt project during a ground-breaking ceremony Oct. 10 on a hillside near Massoud’s Tomb in Bazarak. Approximately 35,000 trees will be planted throughout the province as part of a reforestation project over the next three months. (Photo by U.S. Air Force 1st Lt. Holly Hess, Panjshir Provincial Reconstruction Team Public Affairs)PANJSHIR PROVINCE, Afghanistan – U.S. Army Col. Hunter Mathews, Kentucky Agribusiness Development Team II commander from Lexington, Ky., plants a seedling during the ground-breaking ceremony for the Panjshir greenbelt project Oct. 10. Approximately 35,000 trees will be planted throughout the province as part of a reforestation project over the next three months. (Photo by U.S. Air Force 1st Lt. Holly Hess, Panjshir Provincial Reconstruction Team Public Affairs)PANJSHIR PROVINCE, Afghanistan – Elizabeth Smithwick, U.S. Agency for International Development lead field officer at Panjshir Provincial Reconstruction Team and acting PRT director; and U.S. Army Lt. Col. Jeffrey Casada, Kentucky National Guard Agribusiness Development Team leader with Panjshir PRT and London, Ky., native, plant a seedling during the ground-breaking ceremony for the Panjshir greenbelt project Oct. 10. Approximately 35,000 trees will be planted throughout the province as part of a reforestation project over the next three months. (Photo by U.S. Air Force 1st Lt. Holly Hess, Panjshir Provincial Reconstruction Team Public Affairs)

 

Last Updated on Tuesday, 12 October 2010 23:11
 

    

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