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PRTs help rebuild Afghanistan, one road at a time

by Staff Sgt. Mike Andriacco
455th Air Expeditionary Wing Public Affairs

9/17/2007 - BAGRAM AIR BASE, Afghanistan (AFPN) -- A joint effort between the Bagram Provincial Reconstruction Team based here and local Afghan villagers led to the opening of a new road Sept. 14 in Bagram District.
Brig. Gen. James W. Hyatt, the 455th Air Expeditionary Wing commander, was on hand to mark the ribbon cutting for a new three-kilometer paved road as well as the groundbreaking for a new district building, similar to a county seat in the United States. 

"We are happy to be here with you today to share this special occasion," General Hyatt said. 

Also present at the occasion were Abdul Jabbar Taqwa, the provincial governor; Farid Shafaq, the Parwan Shura leader; and Kabir Ahmed, the Bagram district chief.

The local government worked hand-in-hand with the Bagram PRT to get an assortment of projects working throughout the year, to include the two projects that were the focus of the ceremony, said Capt. Harry Jackson, lead engineer for the Bagram PRT. 

"It is good to conduct both ceremonies today, on the first day of the most holy month of Ramadan," Governor Taqwa said. 

The groundbreaking of the new district center was marked by the U.S. and Afghan leaders, who placed foundation stones wrapped in brightly colored ribbons at the corners of the area that will eventually become the center. As part of Afghan tradition, candy was tossed into the area for good fortune, in the hope that the sweetness of the candy would promote a successful project. 

This project was just one of hundreds that PRTs assist local governments with, Captain Jackson said. They also perform security missions, interface with provincial governors and lead reconstruction efforts across the country. The teams also cater their programs to fit the needs of particular communities.

For instance, if a province needs a new school, the PRT will work with local contractors to help build it. If a road is needed to increase commerce between villages, the PRT will get involved.

"Through a direct partnership with local Afghan citizens and government, the Bagram PRT is helping to foster good relations and provide a better future for the people of Afghanistan," Captain Jackson said. 

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