Last week, the coalition observed the grand opening of the seventh PRT headquarters in Kandahar. Many local and Afghan dignitaries including Governor Pashtun of Kandahar, U.S. Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad, and Lt. Gen. David Barno attended the ceremony. In the next several months, five more PRTs will open: Jalalabad, Khowst, Ghazni, Asadabad, and Qalat.

Education too has been a priority for the coalition. The Aroki Secondary School for Boys and Girls reopened Tuesday in Kapisa Province. The school - damaged during the conflict with the Soviets and destroyed by the Taliban - serves over 1,500 boys and girls. It was reconstructed with 17 refurbished classrooms $93,000 in Overseas Humanitarian, Disaster Assistance and Civilian Aid (OHDACA) funds. Coalition civil affairs soldiers traveled to Mandikhel School in the Khowst Province Monday, distributing several boxes of school supplies donated by families in the United States and more than 200 backpacks donated by soldiers from the Khowst Province’s Psychological Operations Team. Friday, in Nangarhar Province, coalition civil affairs soldiers traveled to Shinwar Loyal and Bandar Kholeh in the Jalalabad area for school reopening ceremonies. While the schools were being refurbished, classes met in UNICEF tents.

Bringing medical care to the Afghan people is also part of our stabilization effort. A U.S. Cooperative Medical Assistance team treated 850 local Afghans, and our veterinarians inspected more than 3,000 animals in the Mazar-e-Sharif area in a week-long medical outreach that concluded Thursday.

While returning to their base at Mazar-e-Sharif December 10, doctors from that team responded to a highway accident. One of the tracks on a tank moving to a DDR cantonment site had broken, causing the tank to veer to the side and collide with a civilian truck, injuring 15 civilians. The casualties were then evacuated to the civilian hospital at Sheberghan.

10th Mountain Division soldiers engaged a squad-sized enemy force near Shkin firebase Monday morning. Coalition soldiers returned fire, calling in mortars and close air support. Two anti-coalition militia members were killed and three others placed under control of coalition personnel. There were no coalition injuries.

Anti-coalition militia in Jalalabad fired on U.S. Special Forces, Afghan Militia Forces and Jalalabad police last Thursday, December 11. Coalition forces returned fire, killing four gunmen and wounding one. The Jalalabad police placed under control more than 10 anti-coalition militia members. No coalition forces were hurt in the firefight.

In a sign of his continuing weakness, our common enemy continued to launch ineffectual rockets at coalition forces. Terrorists fired at the Zormat firebase this past weekend and at Bagram last night.
Posted by: Chuck Simmins 2003-12-17