KABUL, Afghanistan — Afghan and ISAF officials inaugurated a bridge in the Zeerko Valley of Herat province yesterday.
The €1 million project was funded by the Italian Ministry of Defence and is considered to be the most important effort carried out by the Italian Provincial Reconstruction Team.
The bridge is located in the Shindand District 115 kilometers south of Herat, bordering the Farah province. The 8-meter-wide, 160-meter-long bridge is considered strategic for the movement of goods.
The project started in October 2007 and was completed by local companies and workers. The effort was slowed by repeated insurgent attacks in the area.
"This project is a clear demonstration of the effective presence and common synergy of purpose among ISAF and Afghan Institutions," said Brig. Gen. Alessandro Veltri, Regional Command-West commander. "This is still an extremely sensitive area in terms of security, but it is growing rapidly thanks to a widespread presence of ISAF forces in the territory. We are going, together, in the right direction with an increasingly concrete commitment to the fundamental public works of reconstruction and development to benefit the people. A bridge is always a symbol of unity; the strong and durable bond all of us hope for the future of this country."
Lal Mohammad Omarzai, Shindand district governor, Saooib Masoomee, consultant for the district business of the governorate of Herat, Col. Claudio Dei, Italian PRT commander, Col. Francesco Maria Ceravolo, Task Force Center commander, and other local government authorities and elders attended the ceremony.
Mr. Omarzai expressed his gratitude, "for the realization of a structure through which it will be possible not only to liaise the villages located on opposite sides of the river, but also allow transit by road during the winter season, with beneficial impacts on economic and social development and increased security."