By Spc. Brandon Sandefur
1st Infantry Division public affairs
JALALABAD AIR FIELD, Afghanistan - Soldiers from the 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division, are improving accessibility into the Lal Por District of the Nangahar province by building a bridge and improving three miles of road.
Prior to the construction, access was limited to small vehicles and those walking, isolating the villages in the Reneh-Parchaw area of the district.
"Isolation creates a situation that can and will be exploited by enemies of the governments of Afghanistan and Pakistan," said Lt. Col. Patrick Daniel, Special Troops Battalion commander and Hot Springs, Ark., native. "People who are not reached by the legitimate government will be reached and exploited by the enemies of the government in an insurgency."
Since the completion of the project, Mine Resistant Ambush Protected vehicles and large cargo trucks can now gain access into the area, enabling International Security Assistance Forces to reach out to local citizens that may not have seen them before.
Daniel further explained how projects like this help establish trust and confidence in the Afghan government and the U.S. forces assisting them. "The best way we can counter the enemies of Afghanistan in these areas is by assisting the government in creating access and reaching the people of remote areas like Reneh and Parchaw. This operation was a definite positive step in that direction," he said.
Despite terrain and security issues, the project was completed in three days by soldiers from Charlie Troop, 6th Squadron, 4th Cavalry Regiment. The troops also helped widen, smooth and harden certain stretches of the road between Lal Por Village and Reneh while integrating with Afghan National Security Forces to establish security along the route.
"Because the road has been so restrictive, the government has not been able to provide large-scale projects in the area," said Capt. Jay Bessey, officer in charge of the project, from Greenville, Mich. "We wanted to use this project to show them that, at the behest of their sub-governor, we could and would support them."