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NEWS RELEASE
HEADQUARTERS UNITED STATES CENTRAL COMMAND
7115 South Boundary Boulevard
MacDill AFB, Fla. 33621-5101
Phone: (813) 827-5894; FAX: (813) 827-2211; DSN 651-5894

April 5, 2004
Release Number: 04-04-02


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE


BAMYAN UNIVERSITY REOPENS IN AFGHANISTAN

KABUL, Afghanistan (April 3, 2004) - Bamyan University staff and dignitaries celebrate today the reopening in Bamyan of the university which had been closed for more than five years.

The school is ready to reopen with 14 classrooms and slots for more than 350 students. The project incorporates funding from New Zealand totaling US $187,000 for equipment and furnishings; and from the United States Overseas Humanitarian, Disaster and Civic Aid totaling US $297,000 for construction.

The distinguished guests at today's ceremony include Afghanistan Vice-President, the Honorable Mohammed Abjullah Karim Khalili; the Minister of Higher Education, Dr Mohammed Sharif Faiz; Bamyan Governor Mohammand Rahim Aliyar; the Bamyan University Dean, Dr. Mohammed Sarwer Mawlaie; the U.S. Deputy Chief of Mission for Afghanistan, David Sedney; and the Bamyan Provincial Reconstruction Team commander, New Zealand Group Captain Gavin Howse.

The Bamyan Provincial Reconstruction Team was established in March 2003 and has been run by both American and New Zealand teams, which have provided engineering supervision of the University's reconstruction amongst other security and civil reconstruction projects. Currently the Bamyan PRT, led by Coalition members from New Zealand, is working on more than 30 projects worth more than US $3.5 million to be completed by mid 2004.

In 1998 the Taliban regime attacked Bamyan and closed down the university, at which time more than 400 Afghan men and women, taught by almost 40 professors, had been attending classes in history, agriculture, medicine, language and science. The University was the only one of its type in Bamyan Province.

The Taliban converted the university's three main structures into a communications center, barracks and ammunition storage area. These areas received significant damage during the fighting to free Afghanistan in October and November 2001.

Bamyan is located approximately 250 km northwest of Kabul and was known for the 1,800-year-old Buddha statues that the Taliban destroyed in February 2001.


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