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Afghan Uniformed Police assume responsibility for new headquarters

October 28, 2012

By Jasmine Chopra-Delgadillo

KANDAHAR AIRFIELD, Afghanistan - Afghan Uniformed Police in Daykundi province assumed responsibility for a newly-constructed headquarters Oct. 20, which will serve as a base of operations for about 60 police who have sworn to uphold safety and security in Miramor District.

At a cost of approximately $1.5 million, the facility includes offices, classrooms, training rooms, locker rooms, a kitchen, parking, force protection measures and other utilities commonly found at police headquarters.

"This facility will provide the police officers with a high-quality headquarters from which they can serve and protect their communities," said U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Project Manager Michael Winkler.

Based at the Afghanistan Engineer District-South, Winkler is a hydraulic engineer who deployed from the USACE Engineer Research and Development Center in Vicksburg, Miss.

Construction in Afghanistan is no easy task, explained the project's South District Resident Engineer Lori Gardner, who deployed from the USACE Fort Worth District.

Some challenges included removing mines, reduced access to the project site due to road closures, accessing highly-qualified laborers and the extreme remoteness of the location. The facility is situated in a desolate, mountainous region, at an elevation of approximately 7,300 feet above sea level.

"It's especially rewarding for the team to be able to turn over a first-rate facility that will benefit the Afghans and improve their security," said Gardner.

An important tactic used to complete projects and support the professional development of Afghan citizens includes employing local engineers.

"We enlisted the aid of our Afghan Quality Assurance Representative Waheedullah," said Gardner. "And he did a great job of addressing deficiencies and facilitating progress."

Since 2009, 11 Afghan Uniformed Police district headquarters have been turned over to the Afghans. Twelve more are scheduled to be completed and turned over to the Afghans by the close of 2013.

To help them become prepared to appropriately operate and maintain the headquarters, training will be provided to AUP so police facilities can continue running as designed once coalition forces return to their countries of origin. The training, which spans six weeks, covers topics such as plumbing, pest control, heating, ventilation and air conditioning. The plan is to train at least two personnel at each one of the AUP facilities throughout southern Afghanistan, said Albert Soliz, the South District Operations and Maintenance program manager. Soliz deployed to Afghanistan from Irvine, Calif. where he works as a senior project manager in the city's community services division.

"NATO's primary objective in Afghanistan is to enable the Afghan authorities to provide effective security across the country, so police headquarters like this one in Miramor are an important step toward achieving that goal," said Winkler.

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