Thursday, November 12, 2009
Building bridges in Afghanistan
Crossing the Nahr e Bughra canal has just been made a whole lot easier thanks to the work of the Joint Force Engineer Group in Helmand Province.
The Grenadier Guards, Royal Engineers and soldiers of 2nd Battalion, Duke of Lancasters Regiment, took just a week to build a new bridge on the fringes of Nad e-Ali in Helmand. It's part of a long term plan to improve the economic prosperity of the area.
The task was completed by 10 Field Squadron, part of the Joint Force Engineer Group, 11 Light Brigade.
Commanding Officer of the Engineer Group, Lt Col Matt Bazeley, said: "The construction of this bridge is of huge significance. I hope it will give the people of Nad E Ali District greater freedom and from this there will be social and economic development. We are extremely proud and honoured to have completed this bridge construction for the people of Afghanistan."
Nad e-Ali District Governor, Habbibulah, opened the new "Freedom Bridge" at a ribbon cutting ceremony. He was joined by Commanding Officer of 1 Grenadier Guards Lt Col C R V Walker, Afghan National Police second in command Major Aziz and National Directorate of Security Commander Wali Mohammed.
The bridge was soon busy with tractors, cars and motorbikes. The construction had caused great interest in the area and the excitement at seeing it opened was palpable.
Lt Isla De La Haye, who was in charge of the project said: "The bridge offers an alternative route for people to travel freely through the area, and so avoid insurgent controlled routes where locals are taxed and intimidated. It is just one of the many reconstruction projects happening in the area that have a huge positive impact on everyday life."
Numerous other tasks are underway to enhance the civilian infrastructure and improve the quality of life for the people of Afghanistan. This bridge represents a small part of the work being done and as such demonstrates the contribution being made by the British presence in Helmand.