By U.S. Army 1st Lt. Lory StevensJuly 25, 2009
BAGRAM AIR FIELD, Afghanistan-Bamyan Governor Habbiba Sarobi celebrated two major road projects by hosting two ribbon cutting ceremonies in Shibar and Kahmard districts with Task Force Warrior and New Zealand Provincial Reconstruction Team representatives, July 23.
The projects were funded by Col. Scott A. Spellmon's TF Warrior Commander Emergency Response Program.
The first ribbon cutting ceremony held in Shibar district celebrated the start of construction on the multi-million dollar, 33 kilometers of new asphalt road.
"This road project is part of a larger plan to connect Charikar, Parwan, to the "Red City" of Bamyan," said U.S. Army Maj. Clifton Cribb, TF Warrior civil military affairs officer for Bamyan, explaining how the deputy minister of public works from Kabul and the director of public works in Bamyan both requested construction of the road.
During her speech, Sarobi noted that her development priorities over the past year had been roads.
"Today, my development priorities are roads, roads, and electricity," she said, acknowledging strides in development and vast progress on a road network in the province.
The second ribbon cutting ceremony was held after a U.S. aircraft transported local officials and U.S. and New Zealand military officials from Shibar to Kahmard district.
The Madr Gravel road consists of 7.4 kilometers of improved gravel surface with a nine meter width, recently completed two months ahead of schedule.
"This segment of road completes the loop of Ghandak Highway in north eastern Bamyan," said New Zealand Army Maj. Grant Arrowsmith, TF Warrior New Zealand PRT Liaison Officer, New Zealand Defense Force.
It was an emotional day for the governor of Bamyan.
"Today is the reality of a dream for me," said Sarobi, recalling a story of personal inspiration where she promised herself to do more for the people of Bamyan.
Travelling across Afghanistan five years ago, she stepped off a plane and was greeted by a small group of children.
"As I hugged two Hazaran children, I noticed the very rough, dry skin on their hands and faces and it hurt me," said Sarobi. She added that historically, the Hazaran ethnic group is treated as lower class citizens in their own country.
"I feel good today because roads are a start towards connecting Hazarans with their central government in Kabul, and accessing better economic opportunities," she said.