By Marine Corps 1st Lt. Joe Reney
Special to American Forces Press Service
Dec. 28, 2009 - Afghanistan's Now Zad district governor, Sayed Murad Agha, greeted more than 100 local citizens of the once-abandoned market here Dec. 20. The rebuilding process for the Now Zad district has started, but there will be challenges, officials said.
Agha surveyed the area, asked questions and addressed local Afghans' concerns. He visited the medical facility where Marines and sailors of 3rd Battalion, 4th Marine Regiment, provided care for local Afghans and spoke with local shopkeepers as he made his way through the district's recently cleared streets.
Although locals conveyed many concerns, Agha had some of his own centering on the welfare of the community, mainly getting people back into their homes and back to work.
"I would like to work on rebuilding the school and getting people back to work, so people can return to their lives," Agha said through an interpreter. "I'd like to get the teachers back."
Now Zad was once the second-largest city in Helmand province. However, after several years of insurgent activity, this part became uninhabitable for Afghan families.
U.S. Marines and Afghan national security forces have cleared the market and district center to allow the people to return and begin rebuilding.
The market and district center are experiencing rapid progress, officials said.
"The Marines have done a lot to get the people back to work," Agha said. "The people here really want to get back to work and are tired of the enemy activity."
As Marines and Afghan security forces partner to provide security and civil affairs support, the Marines see great benefit for the community in having the district governor present for the rebuilding process.
"The people here haven't had any form of government for four years,' said Marine Capt. Jason Brezler, a civil affairs officer from Bronx, N.Y. "To have a committed and educated man, like [the district governor] here to rebuild is a good thing."
(Marine 1st Lt. Joe Reney serves with 1st Marine Division's Regimental Combat Team 7 public affairs.)