ISAF, Afghan collaboration to bring prosperity

Kabul, January 8, 2007 (NATO): An $8 million contract between ISAF's Laghman Provincial Reconstruction Team (PRT) and the Mashriq Engineering and Construction Company was recently signed to build the first phase of a new major road.

The PRT holds weekly meetings with provincial leadership to discuss development of the province. The projects that gain the most interest are those, like the Alishang Road, that increase security and stability, explained Lt. Col. Robert Ricci, Laghman PRT commander.

"An $8 million project creates a lot of jobs for Afghan people, which inherently brings security and will hopefully enhance Laghman economic growth," said Colonel Ricci.

Gov. Mangal praised the partnership between the government and the PRT, noting the result would be an increase in the province’s capabilities to move people and goods more safely and effectively.

According to PRT officials, the road contract is expected to lead to decreased travel time between the province's districts, increased economic exports and easier access to northern areas for government representatives.

"I see this project as a symbol of stability and peace for Laghman people," said Governor Mangal. "I hope that the New Year will be full of peace, prosperity and full of reconstruction projects for Laghman people."

The performance period for the contract begins Jan. 6 and the contractor has 485 days to complete the project. The first phase of Alishang Road will be approximately 23 kilometers long and 7 meters wide, and will incorporate two bridges. A proposed second phase to complete the road is awaiting approval and funding.