KANDAHAR - Canada's largest engineering company has been selected to help repair a failing dam in Afghanistan, Minister of International Cooperation Bev Oda said in Kandahar Sunday.
Oda made the announcement with the Kandahar governor at the Canadian Forward operating base Frontenac — within eyesight of the Dahla Dam.
She said Quebec-based SNC-Lavalin has been chosen to help repair the dam.
Located in Kandahar city, the Dahla dam is Afghanistan's second largest. It was built in the 1950s and has long since fallen into a state of disrepair due to decades of war.
Ottawa will spend $50 million to repair the dam, said Oda.
It's believed that once repaired, the dam will create thousands of jobs. Repairs are expected to be completed by 2011, the year Canada is scheduled to finish its military commitment to Afghanistan.
"There's going to be 10,000 hectares of agricultural land brought back to its full potential and 10,000 seasonal employees for and work for the local Afghan people, so this is major project and we're very pleased," said Oda.
Kandahar Governor TooryalaiWesa said the employment opportunities would help in the fight against the Taliban. "That will reduce the amount of insurgencies here, because one of the main reasons for the insurgency is unemployment." Later in the day Oda also helped to open a photo exhibit in Kandahar city showcasing pictures taken by Afghan children. The project was funded in part by the Canadian government and involved giving children cameras to capture everyday life in Kandahar. (CP)