LAGHMAN PROVINCE, Afghanistan - U.S. Army Capt. Jason Merchant, the company commander of Company A, 1st Battalion, 133rd Infantry Regiment, Task Force Ironman from Dysart, Iowa, hands out cards Dec. (click for more)
KUNAR PROVINCE, Afghanistan – U.S. Army Spc. Lauren Hyman of Texarkana, Texas, armored vehicle driver for the 64th Military Police Company based at Combat Oupost Fortress, says hello to an (click for more)
LAGHMAN PROVINCE, Afghanistan - U.S. Army 2nd Lt. Taylor Gingrich, an infantry officer from Cedar Falls, Iowa, with Task Force Ironman, draws a smile from an Afghan boy as Gingrich (click for more)
LOGAR PROVINCE, Afghanistan – U.S. Army Spc. Brian Stowe, a human resources specialist from Elkmont, Ala., with Task Force Knighthawk, 10th Combat Aviation Brigade, sings a ballad he wrote and (click for more)
PAKTYA, Afghanistan – Servicemembers defend the wall after an improvised explosive device detonates on Forward Operating Base Lightning Dec. 5. (click for more)
KAPISA PROVINCE, Afghanistan – Afghan and French military chiefs conduct a briefing before deployment during a security operation. Afghan National Security Forces and French Task Force Richelieu conducted Operation Montevideo (click for more)
PANJSHIR PROVINCE, Afghanistan – U.S. Air Force 2nd Lt. Phil Compton, Doty, Wash., Panjshir PRT engineer, and PRT local Afghan engineer Abid Wardak check the structural integrity of the retaining (click for more)
GHAZNI PROVINCE, Afghanistan – An Afghan family looks at their new family member after she was delivered by the Polish Army medical team at Forward Operating Base Warrior Jan. 3. (click for more)
KHOWST PROVINCE, Afghanistan -- Soldiers from 2nd Platoon, Company B, 1st Battalion 187th Infantry Regiment, 101st Airborne Division, maneuver through Sabari District during patrols to disrupt insurgent activity in the (click for more)
BAGRAM AIRFIELD, Afghanistan – U.S. Army Sgt. Shawn Fouste, Decatur, Ill., noncommissioned officer in charge of the Freedom Restoration Center with the 455th Expeditionary Wing, Task Force Med, plays with (click for more)
KUNAR PROVINCE, Afghanistan – The Kunar Construction Center, in the Shigal District in eastern Afghanistan’s Kunar Province, graduated 116 young men Oct. 9 under their unofficial slogan of “We will rebuild our country.”
Established as a joint effort by the Kunar Provincial Reconstruction Team and U.S. Agency of International Development in March 2008, the KCC provides training in masonry, painting, plumbing, carpentry and electrical work to young men from the Kunar, Nuristan, Laghman and Nangahar provinces.
“You will be the heroes who build mosques, schools, roads; the kind of heroes who provide for their families, who honor their fathers with hard work and the sweat of an honest man,” said Paul Negley, the Kunar PRT USAID representative from Winchester, Va., while addressing the young men at their graduation ceremony. “You will inspire your children, and your children’s children, and Afghanistan will be a better place because of you.”
Prior to the KCC’s creation, many of the basic construction jobs in Kunar were being filled by laborers from outside the country. The purpose of KCC was to transition skilled trades to Afghan jobs. According to USAID, recent surveys showed 80 percent of KCC graduates are hired post-graduation, in the eastern Afghanistan region.
Attending the KCC’s eighth graduation was Kunar Provincial Gov. Fazlullah Wahidi, the Kunar PRT and Agribusiness Development Team commanders, leadership from Task Force Bastogne, several members of USAID and local leaders from throughout Kunar and neighboring provinces.
While addressing the graduates, Gov. Wahidi urged them to take control of security in the Kunar Province saying, “The insurgents are not Muslim. They are not from Afghanistan.”
He then praised them for completing the class and being part of the community who will implement change for the people of Afghanistan.
“In the past, the people of Afghanistan have had many hardships: families torn apart, brothers killed brothers, sisters became widows, mothers lost sons, and children became hopeless,” Negley said in a passionate address to the graduates. “Generations of youth were lost to war, never having the opportunities like the students here today.
“Today, we do not celebrate the heroes of these wars, our heroes, or the heroes of the mountains, which is why I speak here with pride and optimism. You are the real sons of Afghanistan … tomorrow’s heroes; the heroes of peace.”
The facility itself has also undergone change, including the addition of two new mail halls, two dormitory areas, six washrooms and administrative offices. The KCC is also considering adding auto mechanics to its list of trades taught.
As the center itself continues to grow, so will the contributions of the young Afghan men trained within its walls. The KCC will begin with a new class of 100 students in November.
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|Afghan forces, TF Bastogne continue operations in Sherzad District|
NANGARHAR PROVINCE, Afghanistan – Afghan National Security Forces and Soldiers from 1st Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division, Task Force Bastogne, continued operations in the Sherzad District Jan. 8 clearing the village of Toto of insurgent fighters to reinforce a foundation of security in the area.
|TF Iron eliminates insurgent IED team|
GHAZNI PROVINCE, Afghanistan – Soldiers form Task Force Iron Rakkasan and members of the Afghan Uniformed police, using the Precision Threat Detection System blimp at Forward Operating Base Andar, identified a group of insurgents with weapons and explosives Jan. 3.
|TF Iron Rakkasan uses PTDS to prevent highway robbery|
GHAZNI PROVINCE, Afghanistan – Recently, Soldiers from Task Force Iron Rakkasan watched a member of the Afghan Uniformed Police conduct an illegal checkpoint on the route between Ghazni and Sharana. Using the camera system on the Persistent Threat Detection System, Soldiers observed a man standing in the road collecting money from vehicles. The practice is common by insurgents who fund their attacks by taking money from locals.
|Joint operation helps clear Sherzad of insurgent activity|
NANGARHAR PROVINCE, Afghanistan – Afghan National Security Forces and Soldiers from Task Force Bastogne began operations in the Sherzad District Dec. 23.