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Troops deliver Afghanistan dam turbine

Around 2,000 British troops in Afghanistan have taken part in a huge convoy to deliver a hydro-electric turbine 180 kilometres by road from Kandahar airfield to Kajaki dam.

The turbine, once installed and fully operational, will help provide some 1.5 million southern Afghanis with much needed electricity and irrigation.

It will be installed at Kajaki dam and is capable of producing 18.5MW of economically viable, renewable energy. This is in addition to the dam's current 16.5MW output.

Work can now begin on the turbine's installation and the much larger programme of repairs to the electrical distribution network needed to pass the extra power to areas of Sangin, Musa Qaleh, Kandahar and the provincial capital of Helmand, Lashkar Gah.

Details of the turbine transportation operation, and the location of the convoy, were kept secret until the turbine reached its destination late last night, in order to protect the soldiers involved in its delivery. The turbine and its various parts had to be transported by road due to their weight, with some parts weighing as much as 29t each.

The operation, codenamed 'OQAB TSUKA', or 'Eagle's Summit', involved a further 2,000 Afghan National Security Forces and ISAF troops from the US, Canada, Denmark and Australia.

"Ultimately success in Afghanistan is about more than defeating the Taliban or the absence of fighting. It's also about creating jobs, security and economic development," said spokesman for Taskforce Helmand Lt Col David Reynolds.

"This operation is the first step in a much larger operation that demonstrates that International Security Assistance Force's strategy to deliver civil effects is making real progress. A USAID funded project, delivered by the military, where the Afghan people will benefit, and ultimately, we will all benefit. It's why we are in Afghansitan."

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