PRT provides electricity to Afghan community

  • Published
  • By Air Force Capt. Gerardo Gonzalez
  • Mehtar Lam Provincial Reconstruction Team
Villagers near Rayn, Afghanistan, are benefiting from the opening of a new micro-hydroelectric plant capable of providing electricity to 300 homes in the area.

The 25-kilowatt power-generating facility next to the Alishang River in the Alishang District of Laghman Province is the first of its kind to be completed in the district by the Mehtar Lam Provincial Reconstruction Team. It was officially opened Oct. 30.

"This project began more than a year ago, and there were some challenges associated with it," said Lt. Col. Brad Bredenkamp, Mehtar Lam PRT commander. "But with the joint efforts between the PRT, government and people of Alishang, we were able to overcome the challenges and get this project done."

Micro-hydroelectric plants use fast-flowing water, channeled from nearby rivers and streams, to turn a turbine engine fast enough to generate power, which is then wired to nearby homes.

Colonel Bredenkamp praised the completion of the project, but also indicated that much reconstruction work remains and district citizens are a key component in the process.

"In order to get these projects going, we all need to work together to improve security in Alishang, without the enemies of Afghanistan destroying what is built," he said.

Village elders here agree that security is a problem, but they say it is not overwhelming.

"Not all people here are causing problems," said an elder named Asadulla through an interpreter. "There are just a few."

Asadulla highlighted some of the problems that contribute to instability in the northern part of this district. 

"People here are very poor," he said. "We do not have enough land for agriculture and our young people need jobs."

The young men of working age in the district have to go abroad to countries such as Iran and Pakistan to find jobs, according to Assadulla.

He expressed his concern but also his gratitude toward the PRT.

"It's good news to see the PRT funding projects in our district," he said.

Others also expressed their support for the rebuilding efforts in the district.

"I appreciate what the PRT is doing," said Mulla Abdul Mateen, another citizen of Alishang. "Our (district) is ready to work side by side with the district governor and coalition forces in reconstruction."