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New building brings equal treatment for security at Kabul airport

Feb 17, 2011

By Jon Connor, DCOM-Regional Support, NTM-A/CSTC-A

KABUL, Afghanistan - It may be just a building, but what a difference it's going to make.

A ribbon-cutting ceremony was held the morning of Feb. 15 to open a building -- the Women's Customs Search area -- where the female gender can now be checked with dignity for security purposes to enter Kabul International Airport.

Prior to the opening, females had to go in a shabby looking conex with a low-wattage light bulb to be searched to ensure security.

Their male counterparts, however, had a building similar to the new facility. The new female building includes two attractive, relatively spacious rooms and a restroom.

"I'm really glad to part of the opening ceremony," said Brig. Gen. Joma Adeel, commander, Kabul International Airport (KAIA), through an interpreter, just prior to cutting the ribbon.

In attendance from nearby Camp Eggers were Maj. Gen. James B. Mallory, deputy commanding general, NATO Training Mission-Afghanistan/ Combined Security Transition Command - Afghanistan; Brig. Gen. John J. McGuiness, deputy commander, Regional Support, and incoming DCOM-RS, Brig. Gen. Guy T. Cosentino.

Coming from Camp Phoenix was Col. Bob Wicks, commander, Regional Support Command-Capital, whose command oversaw the contracting, implementation, and completion of the new $68,000 building. And, Marine Col. Sheila Scanlon, senior adviser to the Deputy Ministry of Interior for Administration and Support, and senior adviser to the director of gender affairs for MOI.

Adeel said that after 30 years of war, especially the last 10, it was good "to be able to stand on our own feet with a bright future ... We are able to control and check people at Kabul International Airport."

The future of Afghanistan is KAIA, Adeel said, calling it one of the "key facilities" to bring prosperity to the country through a secure airport.

"The insurgents are the bad guys and want to target this area," he said. Adeel thanked coalition forces for their help in acquiring the new building and praised the Yasir Milad Construction Company for their quality work.

It's a "privilege for all of us to be here to dedicate this building," Mallory said prior to the ribbon cutting. Mallory then thanked Adeel for his "insightful and inspiring words."

Mallory added that builds such as this "reflect the professionalism of the Afghan Police and Afghan Border Police." And, that the new building is "especially fitting" to provide screening for females using KAIA.

The building will soon be fitted with X-ray machines and scanners, along with office furniture.

Following the ceremony, Adeel led distinguished visitors and other attendees then went into the new building for a look. After that, Adeel walked them to a nearby building where refreshments were served.

In discussion, Adeel said "It's really important to secure the borders,'' referencing the increased establishment of schools to educate Afghanistan's next generation. Insurgents have destroyed schools and attacked teachers and students to hinder the educational process underway. Three decades of war basically has left a generation uneducated.

He added that foreigners coming to Kabul will have "better security for them so no one can hurt them."

"Security is being established throughout Afghanistan," Mallory relayed to Adeel, "thanks to generals such as he."

While new buildings are valued by all, Mallory said, "What really is important are the people that work in those buildings" providing the services for security.

Wicks concluded the visit by handing out certificates of appreciation to representatives of the Yasir Milad Construction Company. He called the company's work "outstanding" and a "quality Afghan construction company."

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