Afghans, Coalition Forces plan road to peace in Tangi Valley
March 27, 2011
TANGI VALLEY, Afghanistan - Afghan National Army soldiers and their Coalition Force mentors welcomed more than 80 villagers from across Tangi Valley, Afghanistan onto Patrol Base Qareb Mar. 24 to plan construction for a new road.
The goal is to get 30 workers from each of the four villages to build the road so governance can come in and improve the area said U.S. Navy Lt. Patrick M. Blue, civil affairs team leader for the Uruzgan Provincial Reconstruction Team.
"The key to stability in the area is opening the lines of communication," said Blue, a San Diego, Calif., native. "With the lines of communication being the roads, it will not only help them get news out and in; it will also help Coalition Forces bring more assets in for security."
Because of the community's lack of education and isolated environment, Tangi Valley is a notorious Taliban hotspot and a safe haven for insurgents who have been driven out of other areas of Uruzgan province said Australian Army Capt. Byron McDonald, team leader for Combat Team C, Mentoring Task Force 2, Combined Team Uruzgan.
"The only way forward is securing the Tangi Valley with a physical presence of Afghan Local Police and by building the road," said McDonald, a Nowra, New South Wales, Australia native. "Once the road is built, progress can start to be made and construction, education and development can occur."
Afghan National Security Forces and their coalition mentors have extended their reach to the center of the valley and development has already begun on the western side.
McDonald said the center region of the valley is contested ground between the Taliban and Afghan government, but villagers are starting to see life improve and trust Coalition Forces.
One of the village elders from the center of Tangi Valley expressed similar feelings to Blue's shortly after the meeting concluded.
"You come from across oceans," he said. "You have a family. You have a wife and children. We know you are here to help. The Taliban, they don't care about us; they only hurt us."
Blue said the villager's comments demonstrated how much the community is starting to realize better options other than cooperating with the Taliban.
"The people want security and development and they want it, like-
now," said Blue. "They're willing to work with the Coalition Forces, but they also understand that it's going to take time."
The road construction will take time, and it will by no means be a perfect road, but it will lay the foundation to help improve the community and bring peace in Tangi Valley, said Blue.