Afghanistan

Afghan leaders open irrigation canal in Zharey

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KABUL, Afghanistan - Rahmatullah Raufi, the Kandahar governor, and Niaz Mohammad Sarahadi, the Zharey district leader, announced 2 November the opening of an irrigation canal in the district.

The canal will help farmers irrigate their crops. Brigadier General Denis Thompson, the commander of ISAF's Task Force Kandahar, and Elissa Golberg, the Canadian representative in Kandahar, assisted in the opening ceremony.

"The people of Zharey district have told me today that the supply of water remains one of their major concerns," Governor Raufi said. "This canal will be a very good thing for the residents here, and I have explained to the people that we have a plan in place to work with the Canadians to build another irrigation system."

Governor Raufi added, "We are also distributing wheat seed and plan to improve agriculture and the supply of water to ensure that local farmers can grow their crops and live off the land."

The Afghan district government in Zharey, in partnership with Task Force Kandahar engineers, have undertaken a series of infrastructure improvement projects. The Zehdanan Canal connecting the Pashmul Stream to an existing irrigation canal system is the first of these projects in the Pashmul area.

The improved irrigation system will assist local farmers to increase crop yields and, it is hoped, will encourage Afghans to come back to their land and resume normal lives. Additionally, the hiring of about 160 local Afghans to do construction work during the building of the canal provided an influx of jobs and wages to local families and a boost to the local economy.

The second construction project in the Pashmul area is already under way. It involves the building of the Haji Baran Canal, a larger canal that connects the Pashmul Stream with the existing irrigation system in Pashmul South. The third project will consist of improvements to the culverts along the main road traversing the Pashmul area. This will both improve the water flow through the culverts and make the road safer from the enemies of Afghanistan, who continue to seek to stall progress.

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www.nato.int/isaf/