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NEWS | March 7, 2011

MOE, DCOM support USFOR-A attend Afghan girls’ school grand opening ceremony

By Lt. j.g. Keith Goodsell , U.S. Forces - Afghanistan

CENTCOM

Students of the Sar Asyab Girls High School sing the Afghan National Anthem during the ceremony commemorating a 17-room addition to school. Photo by Lt. Kurt Draper.

KABUL, Afghanistan (March 7, 2011) — Minister of Education Ghulam Farooq Wardak and Deputy Commander-Support, United States Forces-Afghanistan Maj, Gen. Timothy P. McHale presided over the grand opening of a 17-room addition for the Sar Asyab Girls High School on Feb. 26.

“In less than a year, this project went from a discussion to plans to funding to construction and the result is a 17-room addition for classes and administrative space to help educate young women,” said McHale. “It is because of the cooperation and the courage of the people of Afghanistan, that I can say it is truly a great honor to be in your country, and lead our Soldiers and Civilians who are here to work with you.”

In attendance were Kabul Minister of Education Najeeballah Kaman, Afghan National Army Col. Sediqullah Saberi, Commander of the Darulaman Garrison, Sar Asyab village’s mayor and elders, the school’s teachers, students and their parents.

“For years we were teaching children under a tent in cold and hot weather and it was not the right accommodation for a child to be taught in,” said Parween Hashimi, Principal of the Sar Asyab Girls High School. “By having this building, now we are able to take the children inside these classrooms and teach them their lessons.”

The school’s construction project included 13 new classrooms and administrative space, a security guard house, 250 new desks to replace broken chairs and desks in four existing buildings, and provided new desks and chairs in the principal’s office and teachers’ area.

The project added capacity for approximately 700 students to the school, which has a current enrollment of 3,500 students. Prior to the renovation project, the school was in disrepair and lacked suitable classroom furniture for teachers and students.

“The message I have to the world is that education is the first step if you want to have a lawyer, mathematician, engineer, and scientist; all of them have to go through the process of being educated,” said Hashimi. “My message is do not let this banner die. Do not let this candle die. Let’s keep doing want we are doing.”

Classes taught at Sar Asyab include reading, writing, mathematics, physics, computer-based courses and home economics.

Afghan National Army Col. Sediqullah Saberi, Commander of the Darulaman Garrison approached the U.S. Army last year and recommended Sar Asyab as a possible Commander’s Emergency Response Program (CERP) project. Gen. David H. Petraeus, Commander, International Security Assistance Force and USFOR-A approved the 290,000 USD project.

CERP allows senior U.S. military officials to utilize funds for “urgent” humanitarian relief and reconstruction” projects.

The Jamal Ahmad Faqiri Construction Company of Kabul, an Afghan owned company, began work on the school April 2010 and completed it in January 2011.

USFOR-A’s mission is to execute Title 10 and other National Support (NSE) functions for all US Forces assigned to the Afghanistan AOR. USFOR-A executes OPCON of all Detainee Operations, as well as TACON of CENTCOM directed activities not covered within the NATO mandate, and conducts direct liaison with the US Embassy and other US organizations operating in the AOR.