Governor Jamal, "State of the Province Continued

Governor Arsala Jamal (left) meeting CJTF82 Commander, MG Rodriguez (right), for the first time in February 2007 (photo by SGT Jim Wilt, CJTF82 PAO)

Afghanistan’s MVP Delivers his “State of the Province” Address.

A search of the internet for “best quarterbacks” reveals hundreds of qualifiers and quantifiers, the best of all time, the best of ’07, the best that have ever won a Superbowl, or merely played in a Superbowl?  In Khost Province, Afghanistan there is only one quarterback to put on the list.  Governor Arsala Jamal.  Operation Protect the Quarterback has been ongoing in Khost for several months and Coalition Forces are proud to be part of the team.  LTC Scott Custer, Commander of the 2-321st Field Artillery Battalion recently described him for The Economist: Policing a Whirlwind

 “He is phenomenal. The governor is the centerpiece. We take directives from him,”  

The Taliban have tried to kill him at least 4 times.  The most recent was October 24th when an explosive laden car slammed into the Governor’s convoy, which the Governor wasn’t in. Seriously injuring a provincial representative and two body guards, as well as killing the suicide bomber driving the car.  A few months before that the would be suicide bomber/assassin was a 14 year old boy sent by the Taliban from neighboring Pakistan.  The boy was apprehended before he could approach Governor Jamal and later pardoned.  Intelligence intercepts have confirmed the Taliban’s need and desire to kill him, comments such as

“Half [of the people] are with us and the other half are against us.” “I hope God directs me in the right path. I am not sure if I should do this against my own Afghans. There is no point in fighting. Who is the enemy here? We don't have an enemy.

make it  clear, Governor Jamal and the security, growth and new found prosperity he is bringing to Khost are defeating the Taliban.  The Afghans are defeating the Taliban.

Governor Jamal recently presented his “State of the Province” Address to the citizens of Khost.  The event was covered by two radio stations and a television news network from Khost as well as international correspondents. 

“This year we have created a revolutionary security plan that has resulted in the tightest security our Province has seen in 5 years.  This security plan rivals that of any other Province.  Our security, which is a combination of ANSF and coalition forces, has its forces arrayed along the border, our district centers and Khost City proper.  This arrayal of forces has been very successful as coalition forces and ANSF coach and train each other every day.   Our forces work closely with Sub Governors and District elders in order to reduce criminal, insurgent and enemy fighters.  As you have all experienced, this new system has worked!  Last Ramadan we experienced 7 suicide bombers, this year we had zero.  Our ANP/ANA casualties have been greatly reduced while becoming more successful defeating the enemy.  Likewise, our civilian casualties, as a result of insurgent activity and enemies from outside our Province, has been reduced and continues to be the standard for other provinces.  Our security is state of the art and as you will see includes checkpoints, modern surveillance equipment, quick reaction and specialized forces.  All these new developments have made immediate effects and sets us up for even better security in 2008. 

The Co-location of coalition forces with ANSF in district centers is having positive effects - the ANP/ANA are the best trained and most ready as they have been in the last five years.  The ANP have recently completed training on 20 critical tasks and are setting the standard for all police forces within Afghanistan.  These forces are the backbone of our security.  These forces work closely with our elected leaders and village elders ensuring our villages and districts are safe and secure.

Based on our success this year, we have seen more coalition forces moved into Khost.  These forces are here to continue to coach and mentor the ANA and ANP.  This close relationship with security forces is a good step for peace and security in Khost. 

In 2007, we have created special units of ANP to combat insurgents and enemy combatants with specialized training ready to react to whatever threat the enemy throws at us.

In May, we created the first ever ANP quick reaction force which can respond anywhere in the Province by Helicopter.  These elite forces have helped to reduce criminal and enemy activities along the border and in our districts.

Within the last few months, we created several new ANP checkpoints around Khost City that operate 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.  To date, we have captured 2 potential VBIEDs, impounded several weapons and ammunition, as well as detained wanted criminals.  This is a very visible deterrent to the enemy.  Our forces are vigilant and when the enemy tries to enter Khost City, THEY WILL BE DEFEATED.

As a result of our new security plan in Khowst, the ANSF are fully capable and in control of all security for Khost City.  This is not only a positive security step forward; this is an indication of our citizen’s commitment to IRoA and the Khowst Province.  We could not have such success without the citizens of Khowst reporting and acting on criminal and enemy activities.  Thank you!  

Looking forward, in 2008, we will see the following improvements in the security of Khowst-
KG Pass Road Entry Control Point.  The purpose of this entry control point is to check all provincial traffic coming into the Province.  Additionally, this ECP will charge a small toll allowing the Province to raise an additional 1 million dollars in revenue each year.  This state of the art security checkpoint will be in the Nader Shah Kot District and represent one of our strongest and most visible forms of security.  This ECP will be linked with another ECP in Gardez.  When both ECPs are complete, the treacherous KG Pass Road will no longer exist and our citizens will be able travel to and from Gardez without worry.  
Along the border, we will construct a Border Surveillance Center along the Ghulam Khan road. This center will check and ensure the proper importation of the majority of goods coming into Khowst from Pakistan.  This Center will improve our security and customs procedures, modernizing our dealings with Pakistan and cementing Khowst’s prominence on the world stage.
In the district centers we will see additional coalition forces as we transition from the 82nd Airborne Division to the 101st Air Assault Division.  As the new and old coalition forces transition in March and April, we will have an additional 1000 soldiers that will conduct aggressive targeting of the enemy that lives in areas in which IRoA has limited impact.  These security operations will bring to justice the last remaining terrorists that live amongst our people.
Finally, within Khost City we will see a modern surveillance and early warning system.  Theses systems will allow the ANP to conduct better surveillance and early warning on criminal and natural disasters.  All these developments will act to strengthen the security of the Khowst Province, thus allowing our citizens to focus on prosperity, family, education and the study of Islam.  I stand before you a very optimistic and proud man.  Only through the hard work of thousands of people this year have we been so successful in terms of security and governance.

This year has been a land mark year for the province in terms of development. 
This year we have received $50 million in new project funding.
These projects consist of the following:
A new Khowst Hospital
The Khost City Electric Grid
A newly funded Prosthetics Clinic
The Agriculture Training Farm
                        BCP 9 Road
                        BCP 7 Road
                        KG Road
                        Ghulam Khan Road
Khost City Minarate and Park
Border Security Welcome Centers
4 District Center Rehabilitation Projects producing fully functional and professional model district centers
2 new provincial guest houses; these guest houses are designed to house an increasing number of officials from Kabul that have trained and mentored our provincial and district-level leaders.

The future projects:
As Khost has been one of largest recipients of aid this year, I, as well as the PDC will ensure that we continue this success in 2008 and beyond
My goal and that of the PDC is to not only to continue our success, but create projects based on systems.  Systems of maintenance, systems of security, systems in education, and systems that out live the projects themselves
Both the PDC and myself are looking forward to funding the following new projects in 2008:
opening a new provincial center of government
opening the fully operational University
opening a Khost City electrical grid
opening a state of the art Madrassa
opening a regional transportation hub

As you can see 2007 has been a landmark year for the Khowst province.  Both security and development are outstanding and only getting better.  2008 will see more security and development allowing our families to become more prosperous, better educated, safer, and able to practice our religion without fear or intimidation.  It is important to note that development does not happen without security.  International donors, the national government, or coalition forces reward those that govern themselves.  It is therefore imperative that you support your district and provincial government, elected officials, and security forces.  YOU can make a difference by supporting our fight against insurgents and enemies from Pakistan.  Report everything no matter how small to your district security forces.  Utilize the provincial tip line or your district security forces to report criminal activity, IEDs, or other events.  If your tip results in the apprehension of these insurgents or enemies you will be greatly rewarded, both monetarily and spiritually.  So, I challenge you to make 2008 a year in which we reject the violence and hatred of the insurgency; choose the side of hope, prosperity, education and peace.  You have made a difference in 2007 and I know you will continue to make a difference in 2008.

Closely related to development and projects is the economy.  The economy of Khost has improved several percent this year.  The Khost province now has over 1 million residents who make a living by agriculture, education, construction, cultural studies, security, and governance.  As we embark on 2008, we will continue to see our citizens hone their skills as electricians, masons, farmers, educators, cooks and contractors.  It is you who are making a difference and every day your work helps our economy and institutions get stronger.  As evidence of our Province becoming a premier economy, private and governmental banks in Khost (Da Afghanistan Bank, Kabulbank and Azizbank) have formed an association in order to standardize procedures on inter-bank transaction and electronic funds transfer.  Today, these three banks conduct over $25 Million in EFT transactions every 6 months.  Khost truly is an economy on the rise.

The Khowst University and Khowst University Radio Station is one of the premier education facilities in the country thanks to our donors from the U.A.E., this school will be fully operational in the first quarter 2008
As we develop, become more prosperous, stronger, and more worldly, we have not forgotten our history or our faith.
This year we have either reconstructed or built 12 mosques for our citizens to practice their faith.  In 2008, we will create the largest Madrassa in Khowst designed to educate and train our youth on the Islamic religion.  This Madrassa will be one of the premier Madrassas in Afghanistan."

Khost is a model for the rest of Afghanistan and the basic tenets of its success are spreading beyond the borders of this one small province.  Governor Jamal‘s competition for the MVP are warming up all over the country as Afghans begin to call the plays for their own success.  

Interview via video teleconference with CDR David Adams and Governor Arsala Jamal ( )

Wikipedia Khost Link