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HELMAND PROVINCE, Afghanistan - Kareem Khan, the deputy district governor of Khan Neshin, and U.S. Marines with Civil Affairs Team 4, Kilo Detachment, Regimental Combat Team 5, traveled to several areas throughout Khan Neshin to survey sites for potential construction projects, May 19, 2012.

“The sites we went to go see are around little population centers,” said Capt. Trevor S. Forbes, the civil affairs team leader and a native of Abilene, Texas. “In general, most of the infrastructure requirements for these local villages revolve around their ability to water and irrigate their fields. They’re an agricultural society, so that’s the number one concern for them.”

Forbes and his team visited two different work sites, discussing five possible projects with the deputy district governor that ranged from a clinic to a hydroelectric power system for nearby homes.

“[We saw] issues like culverts under roads, foot bridges to get over canals,” said Forbes. “A whole host of issues that revolve around providing water to their fields and maintaining transportation requirements.”

As the team moved from one site to another, they met with local elders and discussed the most pressing issues for their villages. .
“All these areas are run by these elders,” said Forbes. “They make the decisions, they’re the number one leader for their local area.”
Once elders have decided on which projects would benefit their village the most, Forbes and the deputy district governor bring this information and their recommendations back to the district governor, Shah Mahmood.

Mahmood carefully weighs his options to ensure the projects he chooses will provide the most utility to his people, said Forbes. Though the governor has the final say, he understands the importance of deliberating with district elders when deciding on these projects.

“It empowers him, it legitimizes him in the eyes of the locals,” said Forbes. “They see him making the decisions, he has control, rather than just the Marines out there building stuff.”

The civil affairs team works with the district governor and his staff to aid in the continued development of critical infrastructure in Khan Neshin and, ultimately, to improve the quality of life for people in the district.

“Providing the people better canals to water crops and other things needed for subsistence creates infrastructure,” said Staff Sgt. Robert Miranda, a Tucson, Ariz. native and the Civil Affairs Tea 4 chief. It helps empower the local government, by showing them Marines aren’t just doing everything, the Afghan government is taking the lead.

As coalition forces across southern Helmand shift to an advisory role, the mission in Afghanistan remains the same: aid the Afghan government and security forces as they push toward a stronger, more independent nation.

“That’s our main mission here,” said Forbes. “Legitimizing the government of Afghanistan and training up Afghan National Security Forces so that when we’re gone they can take over and stabilize Afghanistan.”

Editor’s Note: Civil Affairs Team 4 is currently in support of 3rd Light Armored Reconnaissance Battalion is currently assigned to Regimental Combat Team 5, 1st Marine Division (Forward), which works in partnership with the Afghan National Security Forces and the Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan to conduct counterinsurgency operations. The Unit is dedicated to securing the Afghan people, defeating insurgent forces and enabling ANSF assumption of security responsibilities within its area of operations in order to support the expansion of stability, development and legitimate governance.


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Public Domain Mark
This work, Deputy district governor, civil affairs Marines survey future construction sites in Khan Neshin, by Cpl Anthony Ward Jr, identified by DVIDS, is free of known copyright restrictions under U.S. copyright law.

Date Taken:05.19.2012

Date Posted:05.25.2012 10:45

Location:AF

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