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Steadily improving security provided by the Afghan National Police, supported by troops from 2 SCOTS, in the Lashkar Gah area of Helmand province has enabled a significant boost to education in the town.
In a sign of an increasing return to normality for local people, two new academic blocks were opened at the district’s Tortank High School last week. Security in the area is overseen by the Afghan National Police (ANP), mentored and supported by troops from The Royal Highland Fusiliers, 2nd Battalion The Royal Regiment of Scotland (2 SCOTS).
The development, funded by the Danish Government and the World Bank, will enable the popular school to continue to accept more pupils. The new blocks, comprising 14 rooms, will accommodate around 2,000 pupils and replace previous accommodation in tents.
Sediqullah Sultani, headmaster of the school, said:
Besides Tortank, our students come from the Shahid-e-Ghatan and Mukhtar areas of the city. We didn’t have enough room. We thank the Danish Government and the World Bank for funding these new blocks.
Youngsters here love education and our numbers are increasing every day. They appreciate the importance of education for a brighter future.
Aziz Ahmad, a student at Tortank High School, said he wanted to be an engineer so that he could contribute to the development of his country.
Knowledge is a beauty. We should respect our teachers and concentrate on education.
Meanwhile, a new specialist Financial Management High School in Lashkar Gah has been inaugurated by the Provincial Governor, Gulab Mangal.
This brings the number of functional vocational training centres in Lashkar Gah to three, with four more due to be opened in other districts. The funding for these has been provided by the UK’s Department for International Development.
In a sign of defiance of the Taliban, there are now 34 schools open in Lashkar Gah district and in October 2010 around 630,000 text books, provided by the Afghan Ministry of Education, were distributed to students in Helmand.
Lieutenant Colonel David Eastman, spokesman for Task Force Helmand, the lead formation of British forces in Afghanistan, said:
Developments like these show what the achievement of security in Helmand is ultimately about. Schools and other services which the Afghan people want cannot operate when the insurgents have control.
The number of schools opening and being improved across Helmand is a sign of the success that ISAF and Afghan forces are having in tackling the insurgency.