NANGARHAR PROVINCE, Afghanistan – Afghan National Army soldiers and Coalition Forces greeted potential contractors for a proposed new forward operating base in the Shinwar district.
The proposed FOB is a former British fort converted for use during the Soviet occupation more than 30 years ago and will now be used as a modernized hub for the ANA’s 2nd Kandak, 201st Corps.
“This meeting is to give potential contractors a walkthrough of the area so that they will have a solid overview of the scope of work,” said U.S. Army 1st Lt. Fernando E. Roach, a contracting officer with the 1st Squadron, 108th Cavalry Regiment, Task Force Mountain Warrior.
More than 135 builder candidates signed on for the open bid for three separate projects: container living spaces for ANA Soldiers and assigned Coalition forces, renovation of former Soviet structures and building a wall that will encompass approximately two kilometers.
Fairzahn, a young Afghan law student, accompanied his boss to the grounds to have a first-hand look at the process and to assist in deciphering the bidding guidelines and contractual legal terms. His future plans are greater.
“I will use this as a learning opportunity,” the Jalalabad University student said. “My hope is to make a difference in [Afghanistan’s] judicial system and also work to combat corruption.”
Civil engineers overseeing the construction process say this is the largest project to date in Nangarhar. The monetary value is great, but the opportunity to foster relations within the Afghan National Security Force and Shinwar communities is greater.
“This is a frontier district with [the] enemy attempting to cross our borders,” ANA Capt. Abdul Samad, Weapons COY Commander, 2nd Kandak, 201st Corps said of the strategic advantage. “The people support us and once we establish our base here we, [the ANSF] can respond to their needs and ensure a secure future of our people.”
The 1st Sqdn., 108th Cav. Regt. Rough Rider’s offering security alongside their U.S. and ANA partners was a show of unification. But, U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Jim Wilson, a scout platoon section leader from Ellijay, Ga., saw the process as a platform for economic solidarity.
“This promotes competition and the need to keep the [money] in the country,” Wilson stated. “Competition brings out the best in most folks and this will help build their economy and ability to do quality control.”
As the FOB infrastructure takes shape, improvements outside of the facility’s walls will be necessary. Using the current Cash-for-Work program, civilian housing and road construction projects will inevitably follow.
Roach, smiling as he answered questions from the crowd, spoke with Samad about the future of the location and the Warriors agreed it was a natural selection.
“With the advent of these projects, and other contracting possibilities, the economy and the security within the district will benefit greatly,” Roach said.
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