8 Jan 2007

PR# 2007-027

State-of-the-art water plant opens in Afghanistan

BAGRAM AIRFIELD, Afghanistan – A state-of-the art, Afghan built, owned and operated, bottled water plant opened yesterday at Bagram Airfield.

The Aria Bottled Water Plant is a project that will provide long term benefits to both the Afghan people and Coalition forces.

“The plant demonstrates the will of the Afghan people to improve their country,” said Army Col. Larry D. Wyche, commander of the Joint Logistics Command here.

“The fact that this plant was started and completed in six months speaks volumes about the improved security situation in Afghanistan,” said Wyche. “You have an Afghan investor, investing several million dollars and creating hundreds of jobs. Every person that works in the plant now has a legitimate job, which ties directly into improving the stability and security of the country.”

When operating at full capacity, Aria’s four production lines will be able to produce nearly 400,000 bottles of water a day, said Army Maj. Tom Devine, the Joint Logistics Command civil affairs officer. The plant will also be able to produce much needed ice. The water and ice will be purified to meet or exceed the most stringent bottling standards in the world set by the International Bottled Water Association.

The equipment in the plant is like few others in this part of the world. The technology being used is currently used in only a handful of plants around the world and is the first in Asia to be IBWA certified, said Devine.

Construction of the 4,700-square-meter facility took just over five months. The total investment spent on the construction and equipment in the plant is over $10 million (USD).

When operational, Aria will employ hundreds of Afghans, pumping much needed job revenue into the economy, said Devine. This doesn’t include the secondary jobs created from the distribution, marketing and sale of the product.

Aria will also bring a certified training team to Bagram to train their employees in water bottling operations.

The plant is the brainchild of the Ramin brothers. These three Afghan brothers were living in the U.S. before the terrorist attacks of 9-11. After the fall of the Taliban in late 2001, they returned to their homeland with a little bit of money and a big dream of helping to rebuild their homeland. They chose the name Aria from the ancient name of the area that is now Afghanistan.

Contact Information ISAF Public Affairs Office
Tel: +93 (0)799 51 1155 - Mobile: 0093 (0) 799 55 8291 pressoffice@hq.isaf.nato.int - www.nato.int/isaf/