American Forces Press Service
March 17, 2009 - As the Afghan people work to develop their infrastructure, U.S. forces are offering their assistance on a number of fronts. In recent days, U.S. soldiers provided security for the opening of a new district center in eastern Afghanistan and delivered humanitarian aid to villagers in the south.
More than a hundred residents of Khoshi, in Lowgar province, gathered March 4 for the long-awaited opening of a renovated district center, which will serve as the backbone of governance for the district. The center will provide a city hall and an office for the deputy governor.
"This catapults the Afghans' and [NATO] alliance's mission ahead tremendously by stimulating economic, governmental and infrastructure development," Army Lt. Col. Dan Goldthorpe, commander of 3rd Squadron, 71st Calvary Regiment, said.
The previous center had missing windows and no electricity or furniture. The new, multiple-room building is powered by solar panels and generators.
Provincial Gov. Lt. Gen. Attiqullah Lodeen attended the ceremony. Government officials representing every branch of the governor's cabinet spoke of how they are working to improve quality of life for the Afghan people. The officials also stressed that there is someone the people can turn to should they need help.
"That was a great message for the people," Goldthorpe said. "Be patient, have faith in your government, work with them, and your life will get better."
Afghan National Police and U.S. soldiers provided security for the ceremony.
Elsewhere, soldiers of the 1st Infantry Division's 3rd Brigade Combat Team delivered a truckload of humanitarian supplies March 4 to a village in southern Afghanistan.
"We first and foremost want to enrich the lives of the citizens of this village, and secondly, we want to illustrate to the Afghan people the level of American dedication and concern," Army 1st Lt. Andrew Keel, 3rd Platoon leader for the 2nd Battalion, 2nd Infantry Regiment's Company B, said.
The items included more than 200 pairs of shoes, blankets, radios, stuffed animals, small toys, soccer balls, school supplies, and several hundred pounds of rice, flour and beans.
"Soldiers also gave out personal trinkets, like pens, pencils and candy they received from home," Army Spc. Kyle Drake of the 1st Infantry Division's 3rd Brigade Combat Team said.
While the village elders expressed their gratitude, the soldiers received the most enthusiastic response from the children.
"It's mostly for the kids," Drake said. "We're building rapport with the next generation."
(Compiled from Combined Joint Task Force 101 news releases. Army Spc. Matthew Thompson of the 5th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment and Air Force Tech. Sgt. Jill LaVoie of the 1st Infantry Division's 3rd Brigade Combat Team public affairs office contributed to this article.)