Afghan Army engineers help Repair Bridge

by Capt Lena Angell, Maple Leaf, 7 April 2010

KANDAHAR — Afghan National Army engineers worked for two days in partnership with CF personnel to construct an overlay on a bridge that was damaged in a suicide car bomb incident in early March.

The team assembled a Mabey Logistic Support Bridge stretching about 40 metres over a section of the Tarnak Bridge on Highway #4, a few kilometres from Kandahar Airfield. An ISAF soldier and two Afghan citizens were killed and three citizens were injured there March 1 when a suicide bomber drove his car into an on-coming convoy.

“I am extremely proud of the work of my soldiers and very happy for the co-operation between ANA and Canadian soldiers,” said ANA engineer Lieutenant Mohammad Fahim. “The building of this bridge is a symbol of Afghanistan’s persistence to not let the Taliban impede our country’s progress.”

“We began the project on March 10,” said CF engineer and project site co-ordinator Lt Mike Veitch, “with ANA and Canadian engineers working 24 hours a day to complete the job as expediently as possible so as to minimize impact on the local traffic.We had practised assembling the bridge days prior, and it was incredible to observe the ANA apply the skills, and see the project actually come together.”

The temporary bridge overlay will accommodate one-lane traffic until such a time as a plan for permanent repairs is implemented, and the Tarnak Bridge, measuring about 400 metres in length, is restored to two lanes.

“The repair of the bridge is quite significant, not only allowing for ANSF [Afghan National Security Force] and Coalition Force freedom of movement, but, more importantly, it allows for local Afghan mobility,” said Captain Tyler MacLeod, senior Canadian engineer with the Operational Mentor and Liaison Team. “It’s a main artery and its repair means that trade and commerce can continue, which is a key factor to the development of Afghanistan.”

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