UK Government

Ministry Of Defence: Afghan and British troops restore local mosque

News   •   Jan 12, 2010 10:55 GMT

A bullet riddled mosque in Sangin has been repaired and kitted out with brand new washing facilities and a school building by British troops working with the Afghan National Army.

After many years of conflict the mosque outside Patrol Base Pylae was in poor repair with no well to gather water for washing before prayers and bullet holes in the crumbling exterior walls. Local children, who go to the mosque to learn to read and write, had to sit outside to do their lessons.

Despite the problems the mosque was still attended and supported by the villagers and after meetings with the ANA group mentored by soldiers from the OMLT (Operational Mentoring and Liaison Team) decided that restoring the building was their priority.

A local builder got to work with ISAF and ANA forces providing security. Within two weeks a new classroom and a wash room had been added. The bullet damage was also repaired and the whole building painted white with a bright blue trim. The renovation was completed with fresh interior décor and some new rugs.

A mosque is the focal point of communities in Afghanistan and is not only used for daily prayers but also a place for elders to meet to discuss the issues affecting their families and for children to learn.

The repairs at the Sangin mosque have given a big boost to attendance figures. Now at least 30 children spend most of their day there and afternoon prayer times are particularly busy.

The restoration of the Mosque shows local people that the Afghan National Security Force and ISAF are there to help and demonstrates that the government can improve their lives, something that the insurgents cannot offer.

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