KHOST CITY, Afghanistan (NNS) -- Provincial Reconstruction Team (PRT) Khost held a groundbreaking ceremony June 28 to mark the paving of a three kilometer (1.8 mile), $300,000 stretch of the Matun-Gulzar road.
Gulzar Aka, a tribal elder from the Matun District in the Khost Province, has seen firsthand the effects of poor road conditions in this rugged land.
He vividly explained how, after decades of war and neglect, the often flooded, bumpy dirt roads to Khost City slow access to the Provincial Hospital, impede trade among outlying districts and produce a cloud of dust that blankets shops and homes along the narrow route.
"These are happy days for Afghans and Americans, working together to build roads," Aka said as he watched the construction team break ground on the project.
This is just the beginning, however, for the efforts in Khost according to the PRT Khost commanding officer, Cmdr. Dave Adams. Over the next several weeks his team will sign contracts valued at more than $3 million for roads that connect hundreds of villages to Khost City and the rest of Afghanistan.
Roads are the top priority for the people and local government under the leadership of Arsala Jamal, governor of Khost Province.
"This is a project I have been waiting for," Jamal explained in his speech.
Jamal explained how roads reduce the chance that villages will be isolated from each other and their government: roads increase trade between villages and bolster security, creating more stability and commerce.
In a province that currently has no paved roads connecting it to the rest of Afghanistan and the capital, Kabul, every inch of paved road makes a huge difference. The Matun-Gulzar road is just the latest of more than 40 reconstruction projects that the PRT Khost has teamed with the Afghan government to inaugurate this year.
"By providing our Afghan friends with roads, schools, and fresh drinking water, the government of Afghanistan provides hope. The enemy," Adams stressed, "they offer no hope at all."
For more news from Provincial Reconstruction Team, Khost Afghanistan, visit www.news.navy.mil/local/PRTKhost/.