By Mark RayOctober 16, 2011
KANDAHAR AIRFIELD, Afghanistan--U.S. Army Corps of Engineers personnel teamed up with an Afghan National Police representative and a U.S. Army mentor to the national police to inspect a district police headquarters nearing completion in Daykundi province Sept. 26.
Lt. Col. Hazer Khan, the facilities officer for the national police region headquartered in Kandahar City (the ANP region has the same geographic area of responsibility as the International Security Assistance Force's Regional Command South), and Maj. David Steele, a U.S. Army mentor to the ANP, travelled to the site in Ashterlee with three representatives of Afghanistan Engineer District South: Lt. Col. John Carpenter, the J-2; John Clark, the resident engineer for Tarin Kowt and Qalat; and Hans Miller, a construction representative, who has since moved from the Tarin Kowt Resident Office to the Qalat Resident Office.
"It is important for me to be able to get out to sites like this," Khan said through an interpreter. "It allows me to see the issues on the ground, so I can help correct them."
"These visits serve to assure the district police leadership that the enduring Afghan Government will continue to support the district chief of police after the temporary International Security Assistance Force influence is gone," Steele added. "Also, the psychological impact of solid rock mountains amplifying the sound and feeling of Blackhawks flying in sends an unmistakable message of government authority to all.
"A trip to Ashterlee is a two-day drive from the regional police headquarters near Kandahar during the summer months (fighting season), while completely impassable roads in the winter make face-to-face engagements impossible," Steele continued. "When we meet with district police officers they are extremely happy to meet regional staff whom they otherwise know only by reputation. They quickly burst out with stories about their community. The regional officers drink in perspective and steer the conversation toward security concerns. My interpreter always needs a lozenge after the two-hour rapid-fire exchange."
While Khan and Steele were meeting with local police officials, Miller and Clark were busy inspecting all aspects of the ongoing project, including a generator, fuel tank and submersible water pumps necessary to complete the work. Miller conducted vigorous discussions with the contractor, underlining contract requirements the contractor had to meet.
"It's important for us to get out to these remote sites because the Afghan contractors perform better when USACE eyes are put on the project," said Clark.
"Ashterlee will see exponential industrial growth in the next few years and the corresponding, mostly non-local work force will demand tangible security," said Steele. "The walled summit complex, the new district police headquarters, is an icon of security and Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan sovereignty."
"When people in the area see facilities like this headquarters, they see that security is improving," Khan said. "I've seen great improvements over the last three to four years. The coalition has helped us a lot."
USACE's Afghanistan Engineer District-South provides design and construction services throughout southern Afghanistan to support the International Security Assistance Force and U.S. Forces-Afghanistan. The work is carried out in Regional Commands South, Southwest and West with the goal of achieving counterinsurgency effects and bolstering the Afghan Government's services to its people.
You can find more news and features about the district on our homepage (http://www.aed.usace.army.mil/AES/) and follow us on Facebook (http://www.facebook.com/pages/US-Army-Corps-of-Engineers-Afghanistan-Engineer-District-South/199033262376). For more pictures of the Ashterlee visit, and other interesting photos about the district, check out our Flickr page (http://www.flickr.com/photos/usace-tas).