Khost / Khowst Airfield
Khost is located about 150 kilometers south of Kabul and 100 kilometers from Gardez, in Paktia Province in eastern Afghanistan. The town of Khowst is located on a plateau of at least 1,000 m altitude that extends to the East for about 40 km until the pakistan border. Thirty km to the North the peaks start up to 2,500/3,000 m right next to the frontier, while 20 km to the South, near the border, the average is around 1,800 m. The valley of Khowst is closed to the West with a long mountain chain with peaks that go over 3,000 m. Through this runs for about 90km the road to Gardez, which is considered extremely dangerous due to the risk of ambush.
During the Soviet-Afghan War, Khost was the object of a siege which lasted for more than than eight years. Soon after the invasion of Afghanistan by Soviet troops, Afghan guerillas took control of the only land route between Khost and Gardez, effectively putting a stop to the Soviet advance.
During the assault on the Zhawar Kili Cave complex, the Soviet used the Khowst airfield as an initial staging ground to insert troops into the combat zone, using Mi-8 armed helicopter transport ships.
Khost has been American territory since 2001, as it is in eastern Afghanistan it was a hotbed for insurgent activity attempting to dislodge the American forces there. Like most every other province Khost is home to manuever forces and a PRT, manuever forces wage war against insurgents and assist the ANA and ANP in operations while PRT's handle the reconstruction aspects.
In Early 2007 Lieutenant Colonel Scottie D. Custer of the 82nd Airborne Division, saw that the best way to limit insurgent activity in Khost was to forward deploy some 187 paratroopers under his command to Force Protection Facilites (FPF's) in Khost's various district centers next to the sub-governors mansions so they could both protect them and maintain a visible presence in population centers as well as help mentor ANA and ANP units operating across Khost.
FPF's have 18-inch thick stone walls, sleeping quarters for officers and enlisted personnel, a rec room with a flat-panel television, a gym, a kitchen, modest bathing facilities and six of the eight offered internet, so paratroopers can more easily keep in touch with family keeping morale high.
The FPF's brought a broader sense of security and prosperity to the areas near where they were constructed, bazaar's, shops, and gas stations all improve the quality of life for the locals. The Mandozai FPF in Khost had a medical clinic attached to further assist Afghan's in need of basic medical assistance. The offices of Khosts various sub-governors had even seen increased activity as Afghan's went there to settle disputes and voice concerns instead of going through what had been traditionally tribal channels and bribes cutting down on sectarian suspicion and strife.
Throughout 2007 and 2008 roads had been improved, businesses were springing up and and schools were being built, at least 50 in 2007 alone with another 25 planned for 2008. A new airport was under construction as the Khost Airfield was used by the US Military creating new opportunities and jobs.
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