Afghanistan: New school opens in Panjshir province

Release # 2007-357

PANJSHIR PROVINCE, AFGHANISTAN (May 7) - Officials from the International Security Assistance Force Provincial Reconstruction Team Panjshir, along with the provincial governor, parliamentarian representative and an Afghan senator, celebrated the opening of a school here May 2.

The two-story Bazarak Girls School is the first for girls in the province providing education through the high school level. It will host approximately 3,000 students annually in 16 classrooms with desks and blackboards.

"Education is a priority for us," said Gov. Haji Buhlol Bajig. "The children have been eager to learn, and now they have the proper environment to do so."

"It's been a pleasure working with the PRT," Governor Buhlol said. "I hope the parliament members take this message back to the capital. We're working hard here and we want more funding."

The parliamentarian, senator and other provincial leaders addressed the gathered crowd of more than 200 before cutting the ribbon.

"If the girls are educated, then the mothers will be educated and the future of our children and our country will be different than in years past," said Parliament member Judge Rahala. "Islam emphasizes education, and we can not ignore half of the population."

Lt. Col. Chris Luedtke, Panjshir PRT commander, noted Panjshir's reputation for vigilance.

"Panjshiris fought for Afghanistan, and now Panjshir fights for all children's education," Colonel Luedtke said. "This was a dream of Panjshiris, built by the hands of Panjshiris, and now it will be filled with Panjshiris."

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