The new Ministry of Defense (MoD) compound, dubbed as Afghanistan’s ‘mini-Pentagon’, was formally inaugurated by President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani and Chief Executive Officer Abdullah Abdullah today.
The inauguration ceremony was attended by a number of other high level government officials, including acting Defense Minister Masoom Stanikzai as well as the commander of the NATO-led Resolute Support mission and US forces in Afghanistan Gen. John F. Campbell.
President Ghani said the inauguration of the new compound of the Ministry of Defense is a step towards professionalizing the Afghan army.
He thanked the international community, particularly the United States and Germany for their support towards the Afghan nation and security forces.
Ghani also thanked the Afghan national security forces for their sacrifices and bravery as Afghanistan is witnessing instability due to an imposed war on the Afghan nation.
He reaffirmed commitment to stand alongside the families of the deceased soldiers, insisting that the government wholeheartedly appreciates the Afghan forces.
The new ministry compound has been built with the financial support of the United States with an estimated cost of $160 million.
The compound is expected to serve as the headquarters of a modern military and will help the Afghan military streamline its operations and more effectively counter the Taliban now that the U.S. and NATO combat mission has officially ended.
Besides accommodating space for 2,500 employees of the ministry, the new compound will also have barracks for officers and enlisted men, an ancillary garrison as well as a wastewater treatment facility and a power plant.
The building also has a dining hall for 1,000 people, an auditorium for more than 900 people, gyms, clinics and military courtrooms.
According to US officials quoted by Associated Press earlier in June this year, another $33.3 million was also added for some 70 tons of furniture, along with fixtures and computer equipment with another $12 million to be added for information technology alone.
The design of the new compound for the 38,500 sq. meter (414,500 sq. foot) structure was announced for a nationwide competition where a combination of the top two designs was chosen from the entries.