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Progress in Afghanistan Highlighted by Business Growth, Job Creation and New Infrastructure Projects

Release No: UNRELEASED Nov. 4, 2010 PRINT | E-MAIL

KABUL, Afghanistan (Nov. 4, 2010) — Enabled by security progress, Afghan-Coalition partnership and actions taken by the Government of Afghanistan, significant achievements in governance and development across Afghanistan in October created new educational and economic opportunities.

“Bringing security to the people of Afghanistan is critical, but the sustainable solution is found in governance and development success,” said Brigadier General Josef Blotz, ISAF spokesman. “In every province, Afghans, Coalition partners and international aid organizations are aggressively pursuing development programs, which will contribute to long-term security in Afghanistan.”

The following highlights offer examples of progress from each region that reflect the long-term commitment of the Afghan government and its international partners to create an environment of security, stability and opportunity for all Afghans. They also demonstrate the continuing accomplishments of partnered Afghan-Coalition security operations to protect the people from the insurgency.

In the Southwest:

The Lashkar Gah cotton factory in Helmand Province recently reopened, creating more jobs for working Afghans and invigorating the local economy. Farm communities in Marjah, Nad-e Ali, Nawa and Gereshk districts now have access to a facility capable of processing an estimated 4,000 metric tons of cotton this year. The factory’s reopening restores 175 jobs, and is expected to create up to 225 more new jobs in the coming months.

In Helmand, Provincial Governor Gulab Mangal held the fourth Afghan Business Conference. During the conference more than 200 Afghan businessmen and women competed for Afghan government and ISAF reconstruction and development contracts.

The teacher training college in Lashkar Gah, one of 42 across Afghanistan, is now offering teaching certification programs to certify Afghans as professional teachers. This new effort by the Ministry of Education is designed to help rebuild the nation’s education infrastructure and will eventually be implemented at each of its teacher training colleges.

In the South:

In Kandahar, Provincial Governor Tooryali Wesa approved a program to develop the city’s rule of law facilities and recruit more staff. The program includes the construction of 10 police sub-stations and three Afghan National Corps of Police facilities to be used by investigators and prosecutors.

Uruzgan Province is experiencing tremendous growth in education opportunities, with 250 schools now open and more than 1,100 teachers and 425 trainees. In 2006, only 36 schools were operating in the province.

In the North:

In Aibak District of Samangan Province, residents and the Afghanistan Ministry of Rural Rehabilitation and Development worked together to complete more than two dozen development projects under the government’s National Solidarity Program. The projects included resurfacing 125 miles of dirt roads with gravel, the construction of 14 small bridges, brick-lining more than 1,900 meter of drainage lanes, the construction of two water tanks, the digging of four wells, and the establishment of an embroidery training course for women. More than 3,000 families will benefit from these various projects.

In Mazar-e Sharif and Kunduz City, a silk worm breeding project to create fine silk rugs and clothing is running successfully. At the Mazar-e Sharif women’s-only market, 20 shops were recently renovated. Both enterprises are providing stable employment opportunities for women.

Also in Mazar-e Sharif, the Afghan government, Afghan-Coalition security forces, ISAF, and residents of the area are collaborating on the Aliabad School development project. The project involves the construction of two new buildings, each of which will hold 30 classrooms, providing more space for the school’s 3,000 students. This school will develop an educated work force that will contribute to regional economic development.

In the East:

On Oct. 22 in Behsod District, Wardak Province, four health centers were opened to the public and are now serving more than 80,000 people – 90 percent of the district’s population.

In Shigal District, Kunar Province, 116 Afghan men graduated from the Kunar Construction Center (KCC). The KCC provides training in masonry, painting, plumbing, carpentry and electrical work to young men from Kunar, Nuristan, Laghman and Nangahar provinces. In the past, many basic construction jobs in Kunar were filled by laborers from outside the country. Recent surveys show that 80 percent of KCC graduates are hired in the eastern Afghanistan region.

In the West:

The University of Herat is researching methods to improve saffron cultivation and further develop the plant as a viable alternative to poppy. The Italian Provincial Reconstruction Team donated 400 kilograms of fresh saffron bulbs for the university’s study.

In the Capital region:

In Kabul, thousands of visitors attended the two-day International Agricultural Fair at Badam Bagh Farm that began Oct. 6. The fair hosted 136 Afghan and 40 international vendors, showcasing agricultural services and high value crops and products such as grapes, pomegranates, dried fruits, nuts and cashmere.

Find images and more information on some examples of development progress here: