Afghan officials open district center

Combined Joint Task Force 101
Story by Spc. Matthew Thompson

Date: 03.04.2009
Posted: 03.14.2009 08:32
News ID: 31105
Afghan officials open district center

BAGRAM AIR FIELD, Afghanistan – More than a hundred local nationals from Khoshi, Logar province gathered in a courtyard for the long-awaited opening of the new district center, March 4.

The center, which is the backbone of governance within each district, will serve as a city hall for the villagers and as an office for the deputy governor.

"This catapults the Afghan's and Alliance's mission ahead tremendously by stimulating economic, governmental and infrastructure development," said Army Lt. Col. Dan Goldthorpe, commander of 3rd Squadron, 71st Cavalry Regiment.

Around the walls and outside on the street of the village, Afghan national police and U.S. Soldiers stood watch on foot and in vehicles, ensuring there would be no disruptions.

The previous center was in dire shape. It had missing windows, no electricity and no furniture. Now they have a new multiple room facility powered by solar panels and generators.

This was also the first time the governor, Lt. Gen. Attiqullah Lodeen, had visited the area. The Afghans in this district rarely see guests, particularly high-ranking government officials. The locals listened intently, applauded and cheered as the governor spoke.

"It was like the president coming to visit," Goldthorpe said. "The governor did an excellent job of connecting to the people."

Government officials representing every branch of the governor's cabinet spoke of how they were working to make the people's lives better. The officials also stressed the point that there will be someone for them to turn to should they need help.

"That was a great message for the people," added Goldthorpe. "Be patient, have faith in your government, work with them and your life will get better."

A green ribbon adorned with colorful decorations was hung across the doorway of the new district center. Governor Lodeen made the first cut with a pair of scissors, which were then passed to Goldthorpe, who also cut the ribbon.

The severed piece of ribbon was held aloft to the cheers and applause of the assembled locals and guests.