21 Mar 2007

PR# 2007-218

Medical clinic is stepping stone for progress in Paktika Province

JANI KHALL, Afghanistan – ISAF has been working for more than four years to bring a stable government to the people of Afghanistan, and while there is still work to be done, progress is being made, sometimes one city at a time.  The governor of Paktika Province recently made a trip to the city of Jani Khall to participate in a ribbon-cutting ceremony commemorating the opening of a medical clinic to be used by city residents.

The medical clinic is just one in a series of improvements being made to the city to help establish stability in the region, utilizing the help and support of the Sharana Provincial Reconstruction Team (PRT) and Task Force Fury members from 4th Squadron, 73rd Cavalry Regiment, US Army.

Before the ceremony, a meeting was held in which the elders of the village had the opportunity to hear from the PRT commander, the 4-73rd CAV commander and the governor.  “Some time ago, this district, with many others, requested that security was improved in Paktika,” said Lt Col David Woods, commander, 4-73rd CAV.  “Your government has answered the call.”

Woods explained that the security in the province was boosted by the recent addition of an ISAF battalion with the mission to support western Paktika, working in close partnership with the Afghan National Army and the Afghan National Police.

ISAF is carrying out operations from Sharana to Wazi Khwa.  Training and missions are being conducted together to support operations already in place, he added.  However, the security provided by ISAF is only one piece of the puzzle that is providing stability to the region.

“You look everywhere in Paktika and you know there are a lot of problems here,” said Governor Mohammad Akram Khpalwak, Paktika province.  “We do important things like providing [the people] with a temporary clinic.”  He added that this clinic is a big step in gaining local support for ISAF and the PRT.

Khpalwak has his sights set on future goals and says the key to gaining stability lies in three main areas.  Security, economic and government issues are at the forefront of his agenda.

“Paktika is an important province, and we are working on security,” Khpalwak said.  “We need our locals, the police and ISAF to work together to bring security.”

Khpalwak said in the past, having an adequate number of ANP and ANA personnel has been a problem.  He is looking forward to the upcoming summer season and knows that there must be cooperation with ISAF.  “The residents are scared of the bad people,” he continued.  “By working with the ANSF and ISAF we will take away the fear.”

Another priority is to provide clinics, schools and irrigation systems for the people.  The construction of a road connecting the regions could greatly affect the economic situation in Paktika, he said.  By building roads, facilities could be built more quickly and it would be easier for local people to seek employment.

Lastly, a strong vote of trust in the government must be established, Khpalwak said.  The leaders of Afghanistan are working to bring the government closer to the people.  Khpalwak believes this will help the residents see that the government is working for them.

For now, ISAF and the Afghan government will continue to make strides towards these goals.

“The clinic is an improvement to our goals, and for that the people and the elders are happy,” Khpalwak said.  “There have been many achievements, but for the more important goals we must work on the security, economic and government issues.”

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/