Thursday, April 23, 2009

Afghans, Marines complete Golestan bazaar project

April 23, 2009
Story by 1st Lt. Stewart M. Coles

GOLESTAN, Farah Province, Islamic Republic of Afghanistan – Afghan officials and civil affairs Marines with Special Purpose Marine Air Ground Task Force – Afghanistan completed a project to improve the drainage system for the district center bazaar in Golestan, Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, April 3, 2009.

The project, one of several for the district, was the result of a request from area leaders because the bazaar did not have an adequate drainage system. Standing water would collect in the roadway, causing unsanitary conditions and hazards for drivers.

The $14,000 project employed 50 Afghan civilians, giving them an alternative to going to nearby districts to harvest poppy.
"There are not a lot of jobs, and sometimes people go down the wrong route," said Qasim Khan, the district sub-governor, as translated by an interpreter.

With the improved conditions, the locals can drive through the bazaar without their vehicles getting stuck in puddles left behind from rainfall.

The new drainage system is expected to bring increased commerce to the bazaar from outlying villages in the district.

"The people are happy that you are here and that you are focused on the bazaar because it is the center of the community," said Khan to the Marines.

Future projects already in the works for the district include: the distribution of 85 tons of wheat, the donation of live chickens, passing out material assistance items, installing a local radio station in the city and adding solar-powered street lamps and public restrooms in the bazaar. Each of these initiatives is based on Afghan needs.

SPMAGTF-A and International Security Assistance Force assist the Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan with providing security and services for the Afghan people.
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