TAKTEH POL, Afghanistan - Windowless buildings with unfinished brick walls and water stained roofs no longer stand on the district center grounds of Takteh Pol, Afghanistan.

The subdistrict's leaders unveiled a new mosque and district center during two ribbon cutting ceremonies, May 16.

District Governor Fazil Mohammed led the ceremony for each new building. The ceremonies were attended by shura council members, village elders and Soldiers from 1st Squadron, 38th Cavalry Regiment, 525th Battlefield Surveillance Brigade.

"I would like to thank God for this day, said Mohammed. "When I first stepped into this position of district governor these buildings were obsolete- unfinished projects. With the help of International Security Assistant Force, they have come to fruition and have become functional buildings. This is one of the best days of my life to have the new mosque up and running."
The buildings were incomplete projects due to changes in government leadership. In January, with the support of Combined Task Force Lightning and the new local government, the projects resumed.

The new district center has 10 offices and a large shura hall, which will help promote efficiency within the government and will allow shura members a place to gather and conduct official business.

"The mosque and district center are for the people," Mohammed added. "I anticipate the community members, shura council members and government officials will use these buildings."
Currently, the district government plans to expand their administrative branches to efficiently support the people of Takteh Pol and capitalize on the stability in this region.

"Takteh Pol has been a stable district for the eight months we have been working with the government officials and Afghan National Security Forces here," said Lt. Col. James Gaylord, commander, 1st Squadron, 38 Cavalry Regiment. "The stability allows us to help bring the area to the next level by supporting the refurbishment of government facilities."

Gaylord, a Windsor Locks, Conn., native said infrastructure improvements will encourage more residents to participate in district shuras, which may ultimately help with the district's goal of becoming formally recognized as an independent district by the Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan.

"Takteh Pol is very near to being recognized formally as its own district," Mohammed said. "Almost all of the markers are in place. As we fill in the different administrative branches and hire new employees from the provincial level, we will not have to scurry around to find spaces for them because there is now ample space to work here."

Becoming an independent district will allow Takteh Pol to continue to develop as the district center's offices begin to fill.

"Recognition will allow additional support from various donor organizations and the appointment of trained administrators to advance the district's development," Gaylord added.

In addition to the new mosque and district center, the government also recently refurbished an Afghan National Police station and two additional buildings that facilitate the ANP nearby, increasing their capability to provide security to Takteh Pol.