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)
GHAZNI PROVINCE, Afghanistan – Task Force Iron Rakkasan celebrated the grand opening of two stores on Forward Operating Base Andar Nov. 17. These two stores are unique from others on base because Afghan entrepreneurs own and operate them.
Nasir Ahmad opened a local-goods store while Rafi Ullah opened a barber shop. Both owned businesses in the past but were eager to open stores on the coalition military base to provide services for the servicemembers residing on the remote FOB in Ghazni Province.
Nasir was a mechanic in Kabul prior to coming to Ghazni. He owned an auto repair shop for the past two years and was a shared owner for eight years prior to that. “Owning a goods shop is not very different from owning a mechanic shop,” said Nasir. “The basic fundamentals of business still apply. You have to provide goods the people want if you want to stay in business.”
The former mechanic decided to move his work onto a military base because he wanted to serve the servicemembers. He always liked the idea of having Afghan stores on military FOBs and was very eager to begin work on FOB Andar. His shelves are filled with DVDs, hygiene products and other items servicemembers need during a deployment.
Rafi Ullah owned a barber shop for several years. He worked as a barber in Kabul and Jalalabad for 12 years. Cutting hair is a family business for Rafi Ullah, and he said he enjoys doing it. The job provides him with a moderate living so he can support his family.
Opening stores in Afghanistan can be very difficult for most because landowners require nine to 10 months of rent paid in advance. On military FOBs, no rent is necessary, making it an ideal location to get started. Rafi Ullah says he can use the money he saves on rent to buy all of the equipment he needs, which totals more than $550.
When asked about his business methods, Rafi Ullah referred to the traditional saying of “you have to spend money to make money.”
“A business can be started with a small investment,” said Rafi Ullah. “But if you want a good business, you have to be willing to put more money into it. Drop by drop makes the river.”
In honor of the grand opening, U.S. Army Command Sgt. Maj. Timothy Johnson from Lansing, Mich., 3rd Battalion, 187th Infantry, received the first haircut. Johnson wanted to make sure the new shop would provide servicemembers with a haircut in accordance with military standards. Afterward, he showed his satisfaction by saying, “Rafi did a great job.”
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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.