MARJAH, Afghanistan --
As dawn approached, locals cleared the roads to the District Center, not because they were in any kind of danger, but to make way for the two leaders responsible for the reconstruction taking place here.
Ghulam Jilani Popal, head of the Independent Directorate of Local Governance, and Muhammad Ghulab Mangal, the provincial governor, made their way to hold a shura here Wednesday.
As the Afghanistan National Police set security, the two leaders met with other local officials to discuss current projects and progress being made in Marjah.
Shortly after, the group walked the area, observing the reconstruction and monitoring the progress in education for the local children. The two men made their rounds from one full classroom to another, greeting the students and meeting the teachers.
“I do understand there may still be problems in education, but we will resolve them,” said Popal when he was interviewed by local reporters.
Though security was not the purpose of their visit, Popal addressed it anyway. “I can ensure to the people of Marjah that terrorism and the Taliban will not be present here anymore.”
“Months ago, you couldn’t move from one position to another without the threat of small arms fire,” said 2nd Lt. Joel Detrick, the Operations Officer for RCT-1 Marjah Detachment. “Today, we had the provincial governor walk these grounds, touring the area because of the improvements made here.”
After numerous hours, Popal and Mangal concluded their trip at the government center.
“The shura along with the opening of the Marjah market place two weeks ago just marked another milestone of success for the local government,” added Detrick.