KABUL, Afghanistan - A partnership agreement was reached June 10 on the Nuristan Commander's Emergency Response Program's road projects at the district's headquarters here.
Attending the signing ceremony were Nuristan Governor Tamim Nuristani, Dr. Sayed Noorullah Jalili, chief executive of AMERIFA Construction Company and Col. Christopher J. Toomey, commander of the U. S. Army Corps of Engineers Afghanistan Engineer District/director of engineering for the Combined Forces Command - Afghanistan.
According to the partnership document, the three leaders agreed to "promote a climate of mutual respect, honest and open communication." The document also noted that the Coalition, contractor and government would be committed to proactive problem resolution in order to execute safe and timely construction in support of the infrastructure development of Nuristan on the Nangarej to Mandol and the Chapa Dara to Titan Dara CERP Road Projects.
Although AED has project partnership agreements with several contractors, this is the first agreement between the district, the contractor and the ultimate user, the province of Nuristan.
Nuristan is located in a mountainous and primarily inaccessible part of eastern Afghanistan. To its north are the high passes of the Pamir Mountains leading to China; to the south lie the Kabul gorge and the Khyber Pass; and to the east, Pakistan. The villagers live in isolated terraced villages, which they have designed to withstand the region's frequent earthquakes.
The province also suffers from a lack of infrastructure - mostly roads and power - inadequate medical care, unemployment and poverty, according to the governor.
The governor has discussed his province's needs with the central government, U.S. government and mil itary officials along with a variety of NGOs and other agencies.
Lt. Gen. Karl A. Eikenberry, commander of Combined Forces Command - Afghanistan, has responded with several CERP projects.
CERP enables the command to respond to urgent humanitarian relief and reconstruction requirements within the Afghanistan area of responsibility by carrying out projects that can immediately assist the Afghan people and support the reconstruction of the country's infrastructure.
In addition to meeting the needs of the Afghan people, the goals of the program are to promote stability and security in the AOR.
In brief remarks Saturday, the governor told the audience he was appreciative of the U.S. mil itary's efforts to address the province's needs.
"I am glad the U.S. mil itary is making the funds available for road construction in Nuristan," said Nuristani, who was accompanied by members of the Nuristan Provincial Council and officials from the provincial government. "The roads will enable our people to get to needed medical care. The roads will enable our officials to reach out to the districts and to interact more with Kabul."
According to Nuristani, the war with the Soviets left the province with few skilled workers. He commended AMERIFA for its promise to train and employ Nurestanis.
In remarks to the assembly, Dr. Jalili pledged his Afghan firm's commitment to quality construction. He said the work would be performed primarily by local Nurestanis and the roads would bring economic development to the rural province.
Toomey complimented the governor and other officials from Nuristan for their progressive actions to bring needed development to Nuristan. He said he would ensure quality assurance on the roads and praised AMERIFA for its plan to hire a local workforce.
"These roads will not only bring economic development to the province but they will also enhance the region's security," he added.
Toomey spoke of the Corps' past history constructing roads in Afghanistan some 50 years ago and of its assurance to the people of Nuristan to bring road and power development to the province today. The partnership agreement is a symbol of that commitment, he said.
Members of the assembly who gathered to witness the signing ceremony agreed.
"I believe that the formal partnership agreement is a great tool," said Contract Specialist Stella LeJeune. "It lets the people of Nuristan know that we are committed to helping them build the roads that will make life better for them. It shows we are dedicated to making a positive difference in their lives as well as to rebuilding Afghanistan."
For more information please contact: Kabul-Presscenter@cfc-a.centcom.mil.