U.S.-funded Afghan army garrison opens
FARAH PROVINCE, Afghanistan — A U.S.-funded, $68 million Afghan National Army garrison was opened in Farah province on Sunday, with officials calling it the next step in the joint effort to battle the Taliban in this area.
The garrison, designed to accommodate 2,000 people, will house ANA troops who are partnered with coalition forces in the province in western Afghanistan.
The facility is a few miles from coalition headquarters, which is just outside the city of Farah. U.S. officials say that proximity will help with communication, partnership and mentoring.
A platoon from the U.S. Army’s 4th Squadron, 73rd Cavalry Regiment, 82nd Airborne Brigade is already at the garrison working with an ANA unit battalion.
Farah province has been targeted in recent months by roadside bombs, ambushes, and Taliban raids. The violence seems to show the Taliban influence has spread from Helmand and Kandahar provinces, analysts say.
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers ran the garrison project, awarding the building contract to an Afghan company.
Farah provincial governor Roohul Amin said Sunday during an opening ceremony that the garrison would help lead to the “peace of Afghanistan.”
Michael Osborne, resident engineer with the corps’ office in Farah, said 500 to 600 workers were employed on the project at its peak, including many locals. He said local residents will operate and maintain the garrison.
Joe Peters, a corps operations and maintenance construction representative, said the plan is to eventually train the ANA to maintain the garrison.
The project, which began in early 2008, includes barracks, showers and latrines, dining facilities, power plants, communications systems, a wastewater treatment plant, sewer system and roadways.