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)
WARDAK PROVINCE, Afghanistan – During certain holidays in the United States, Christians often donate money, clothes, canned goods and personal time as sacrifice and to help the less fortunate. In Afghanistan, and across the world, Muslims celebrate Eid al-Adha to honor material and religious sacrifice.
Extending his hand in friendship to coalition forces, Wardak Province Gov. Mohammad Halim Fidai invited U.S. Army Lt. Col. Phillip Chambers, commander of 3rd Squadron, 89th Cavalry Regiment from Helena, Mont., and other Task Force Slugger leaders to join him in his compound for tea to celebrate Eid Nov 16. TF Slugger leaders appreciated the invitation, and the governor welcomed presence of coalition forces to enjoy the beginning of the Feast of Sacrifice, as Eid al-Adha is sometimes called.
“The basic principle of Eid holidays in our culture and our region is to give sacrifices for bringing peace and love among different humanities, between Muslims and non-Muslims,” explained Fidai. “We have to share our happiness; we have to share our love to each other; we have to share our progress.
“I think today we are here to meet everyone; to promote and strengthen the friendship we have with Americans; and also to tell them that we’re all the same people, there is no difference,” continued Fidai. “There might be a difference of ethnicity and culture, but we are all human beings, and we have to work together through friendship and love to bring peace and stability to our culture and the whole world.”
Eid celebrates the Prophet Abraham's sacrifice in his devotion to God. Abraham was willing to sacrifice his son Ishmael. However, Ishmael was never killed; instead, Allah provided a lamb for the sacrifice. Following the Hajj - a pilgrimage to Mecca - Muslims sacrifice an animal, which is usually lamb, cattle, camel or goat, in the name of Allah. The meat is divided into thirds, with immediate family and relatives, friends and the poor each receiving one third.
Wesley Nash, International Security Assistance Force governance advisor for Wardak Province, said the Eid holiday lends itself to a holiday very popular in America in many ways.
“The Eid holiday, to me, is very similar to Christmas in the United States,” said Nash. “It’s a religious holiday for one thing. You also see a lot of people who get into an Eid-type spirit. People are a lot friendlier (and) they have specific customs that they’ll follow.”
The sharing of Muslim customs and traditions holds great meaning in the continued, growing relationship among Afghans and coalition forces. Chambers said celebrating Eid with Fidai is a good thing and should give his Soldiers greater insight into their deployment here.
The generosity Fidai and other Wardak government officials extended to Chambers and TF Slugger shows promise for similar events in the future. In the continued work to build strong relationships with Afghan people and their government representatives, having tea together sets a solid foundation for progress
“It’s a good sign that they invited us to participate in their holiday and learn about their culture and their religion,” said Chambers. “I think it helps Soldiers understand better why they are here and what we’re doing to help these people live a normal life.”
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