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BY CHERYL A. MOORE, Transatlantic Afghanistan District

The Transatlantic Afghanistan District (TAA) works in collaboration with partner coalition teams and stakeholders to support the operational mission in Afghanistan. One stakeholder – Combined Security Transition Command- Afghanistan (CSTC-A) – partnered with TAA as the construction agent to help improve security issues in Afghanistan’s capital and largest city, Kabul.

The Kabul City Gates Improvements Project changed how the district does business.

It was specifically structured for rapid fielding of city gates’ security enhancements. The project was phased and designed to produce immediate operational effects desired by the stakeholders, which will support improved security measures during the Afghan national elections.

Keith Maxwell, Kabul resident engineer, said force protection elements either commercially available within country or easily pre-fabricated, were extracted from the larger effort. In close cooperation with the Kabul Security Force and CSTC-A, Patrick Grey, from the design staff at the Kandahar Project Delivery Platform, finalized the project scope within two weeks. He ensured there was no contractor design effort required beyond shop drawings to minimize the execution period.

The contractor, Assist Consultants Inc. (ACI), completed the fabrication work on the enhanced force protection guard towers, female search facilities, guard shacks, fighting positions, Alaska barriers, Jersey barriers, and drop-arm barriers at centralized sites within Kabul. Traffic disruption along these routes was significantly reduced throughout the duration of the project because of the centralized fabrication efforts.

Enhanced force protection at the guard towers was one of the improvements made during the Kabul City Gates Improvements Project Phase 1.
Photo Courtesy of Transatlantic Afghanistan District 

“Not often do we complete a project in six months from concept to completion, while accepting risk and working through the challenges to influence force protection in the theater,” said Lt. Col. Michael Harding, TAA deputy commander.

The entire scope of the project was to assess, design, procure, execute, and manage Kabul City Gates enhancement for the Afghan National Army (ANA). This completed phase will now increase the security posture, improve city security, increase force protection, and improve traffic flow throughout the city, with each gate located at various locations in and around the city of Kabul.

Although security issues in the city prevented U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) personnel from being able to personally inspect the gates during construction, USACE’s contracted Local National Quality Assurance members were able to oversee and inspect the work at all of the sites on a daily basis throughout the construction period. “With only a 90-day execution period, [ACI] completed a week ahead of schedule,” said Maxwell. “Within that period, they absorbed three weeks lost to an award protest, a week to the Loya Jirga held in the city, and completed the majority of their field installation during Ramadan – a period of historically low productivity due to the shortened work days.”

The entire project required close coordination, a cooperative attitude, and concerted effort by both the USACE and ACI teams to keep the project on schedule. Given the dynamic operational environment, TAA provided essential force protection efforts in support of the government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, delivering at the speed of relevance.