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Reconstruction underway in Tal Afar after offensive

By Lance Cpl. Bernadette L. Ainsworth

CAMP SYKES, Iraq (Army News Service, Sept. 13, 2005) – Scores of insurgents were reportedly killed, detained or fled from the town of Tal Afar Sept. 11 as Coalition forces launched an offensive into the city, located about 30 miles west of Mosul in northern Iraq.

Now reconstruction and re-establishment of infrastructure in the city has been turned over to the 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment’s 401st Civil Affairs Battalion.

The civil affairs Soldiers have already been working on short-term projects in Tal Afar, including school refurbishments, supplying food, road repair, fixing electrical problems, digging wells for drinking water and starting a local newspaper.

Not only do the Soldiers repair and refurbish buildings, their long-term goal is to empower and teach the Iraqis to fix problems on their own when the Coalition forces leave, said Maj. Mark Syverston, commander, Company B, 401st CA Bn., out of Fort Bragg, N.C.

“Right now it is hard for the Iraqis to fix their own problems because of security issues,” Syverston said. “Once security is improved and people aren’t afraid anymore, they can start to lead a normal life, which includes taking care of their city.”

U.S. Navy Lt. Cmdr. Richard Anderson, 3rd ACR liaison officer, said he is excited to be a part of the solution.

“I’m a military person with a humanitarian mission,” he said. “We’re doing great things, and it’s good to be a part of it.”

The reward of being able to sit down and talk with the Iraqi’s is one of the best parts of the job, Syverston said.

“They’re great people,” he said. “It’s nice to know that we’re working for a good cause here.”

(Editor’s note: Lance Cpl. Bernadette L. Ainsworth serves with the Multinational Corps Public Affairs Office.)

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