BAGRAM AIRFIELD, Afghanistan - Afghan and International Security Forces are assisting local residents throughout Southern Afghanistan this July with a series of community-based projects in an effort to improve the lives of local citizens.
The initiative is part of ongoing civil affairs operations conducted by International Security Forces operating throughout Afghanistan.
"Our Commander's Emergency Response Program is a development initiative that allows us the ability to assist local citizens with small projects that can make a significant impact on the Afghan population," said Sgt. 1st Class Andrew Kosterman, a CJSOTF-A spokesperson.
Recent programs in Afghanistan's southern province of Kandahar include the repair of a 60-meter-long irrigation culvert, which employed 55 Afghan villagers for 23 days in the Arghandab district. The culvert supplies local farmers with water for their crops.
Afghan citizens, with the help of International Security Forces, are also working on other quality of life initiatives in Arghandab including construction and repair of bridges and canals, solar-powered street lamp installation, and school renovations.
"In a village in Adirah, Afghans citizens are installing street lights near a bazaar to illuminate the 600-meter-stretch of land leading up to a medical clinic," said a U.S. Special Operations civil affairs officer responsible for the project. "Additionally, two school buildings in Adirah are being renovated at the request of the village elders and include plastering work, window and door installation, and roof repair."
"Installing and fixing the windows and doors was a constant theme at shuras and the local people wanted to see improvement at their municipal facilities," said a U.S. Special Forces officer working in Khakrez. "We will continue to listen to and assist the Afghan people as needed."
Afghan contractors working in Khakrez also completed repair and improvements at the district's main medical clinic, and are cleaning irrigation canals to channel water into farming areas.
"The key to these programs is enabling the people to help themselves, while simultaneously building and maintaining trust and support for the local government," said Kosterman.