13 Jun. 2009
PR# 2009-422

Zabul school back in business

KABUL, Afghanistan - It has been nearly 10-months since the Taliban closed Suri village’s only school, kidnapped a teacher, cut off his ears and threatened his life. Assisted by the Afghan National Army (ANA), International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) U.S. Embedded Transition Team (ETT) and Provincial Reconstruction Team (PRT) personnel, Suri village re-opened the doors to the school on June 11.

Elders unanimously voiced the opinion that education for their children was a top priority at several shuras leading up to the renovation and reopening of the school.

“This Afghan conflict will end once the children are educated and have the skill sets to make a more peaceful, prosperous country,” said Major Gregory Ulma, Zabul PRT Civil Military Operations Leader. “That is exactly why the Taliban target these projects, to prevent Afghans from lifting themselves out of the insurgent control through education.”

The ANA worked with the local community to develop, construct and manage the project. Prior to the renovation, the 10-classroom school was built of mud and earth, lacked windows and had no desks or chairs for the students. The courtyard was muddy and an extra classroom was being used as restroom facilities. The school now is fully equipped with desks, windows and enough room to house over 200 children.

On the first day, only 30 students attended classes. After local elders toured the school, enrolment increased to approximately 140. “This is only one of over a dozen quick impact projects to address Afghan basic needs in remote and dangerous areas. The PRT is facilitating with coalition forces and the provincial government in Zabul province,” stated Lieutenant Colonel Andy Torelli, PRT Commander.

The Suri project was made possible by a Community Small Grant funded under the Local Stability Initiatives component of the Local Governance Community Development contract of USAID/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/