The US Agency for International Development is considering a broad infrastructure project to repair a crumbling dam in Afghanistan as part of an effort to create economic and political stability in a region of Afghanistan controlled by the Taliban.
"This is where the United States government plans its largest project in Afghanistan, the repair and upgrade of the half-century-old dam, which American officials say will cost $150 million during its first year and up to $500 million in total. The project will include the construction of a 55-mile road to the dam through Taliban-held country, the installation of an additional turbine and the building of new transmission lines and substations to bring electricity to 1.7 million people in southern Afghanistan. American officials say more than 4,000 jobs will be created at the height of construction."
"An ambitious project, considering that Kajaki lies in northern Helmand province - the most problematic of all Afghanistan's provinces, with uncontrolled poppy cultivation and at least half the land under the control of Taliban insurgents, drug lords and smugglers. Heavy fighting between insurgents and American and NATO forces occurs daily."
"Yet for those very reasons, the United States Agency for International Development, the government agency coordinating American aid projects in Afghanistan, is focusing on Helmand like no other province. Alongside plans for the Kajaki Dam, it is supporting agricultural, educational and health programs in an attempt to wean farmers off poppy cultivation and workers away from fighting."