Afghanistan/ISAF — Small Projects Reap Large Gains in Helmand

KABUL, Afghanistan (June 28) -Afghans, with ISAF forces sup­port, are plan­ning small projects that will improve the res­i­dents’ qual­i­ty of life in Musa Qal’eh dis­trict of Hel­mand Province.

Local Afghans, with sup­port from the Marines of Bra­vo Com­pa­ny, 1st Bat­tal­ion, 2nd Marine Reg­i­ment, Reg­i­men­tal Com­bat Team 2, are plan­ning small projects that will improve the qual­i­ty of life for many local Afghans in the dis­trict of Musa Qal’eh.
Source: ISAF
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One of these projects to be done is the com­ple­tion of much-need­ed repairs to the Yatim­chay Road; paved roads will aid in the safer trav­els of both local res­i­dents and ISAF troops.

“It will help lim­it impro­vised explo­sive devices,” said Maj. Antho­ny Aragon, Marines civ­il affairs team leader. “This road will also allow [res­i­dents] to trav­el to Musa Qal’eh eas­i­er so they can sell their goods at the bazaar.”

Oth­er projects, called micro-grants, are sim­i­lar to small-busi­ness loans giv­en to Afghans who own a busi­ness they would like to expand.

“These busi­ness­men are excit­ed to look at a bet­ter future,” Aragon said. “We just give them a lit­tle mon­ey and guid­ance and their entre­pre­neur­ial spir­it does the rest.”

“We tie every­thing back to the Afghan gov­ern­ment,” he added “We want the peo­ple to know that their gov­ern­ment and local gov­er­nor care about them.”

Small projects in rur­al areas of Afghanistan are just as impor­tant as the larg­er projects in major cities.

Even though projects are done sole­ly to ben­e­fit the Afghans, there are tac­ti­cal ben­e­fits as well.

“Once the peo­ple real­ize we are here to help them, they want the projects to con­tin­ue,” said Cpl. Cameron Brainard, Marines civ­il affairs team mem­ber. “The best way to do that is to keep the Tal­iban out.” “We are see­ing the pos­i­tive change here,” Major Aragon said. “They see us as a pos­i­tive [part­ner] and take own­er­ship of what they have.”

Afghan con­trac­tors and work­ers fin­ished recent projects fund­ed by ISAF ahead of sched­ule; small and large-scale projects will con­tin­ue through­out Hel­mand Province in the future.

Press release
Com­piled from Inter­na­tion­al Secu­ri­ty Assis­tance Force Joint Com­mand News Releas­es