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 – More than 30 Afghan women learned the fundamentals of animal care from veterinary experts of the Iowa National Guard’s 734th Agribusiness Development Team at a girls’ school near the Sarkani District Center Nov. 20.
The women and many of their children crowded into a small room for the training session that was a multiunit effort involving female engagement team members from the Kunar Provincial Reconstruction Team, Iowa ADT and Task Force No Slack, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division.
U.S. Army Maj. Mary Parmenter of Perry, Iowa, leads the ADT FET and serves as the ADT’s operations officer. She arranged to have the ADT’s veterinary specialists provide the training.
“This training for the women of the Sarkani District came out of a women’s shura we attended last month in Asadabad,” Parmenter said. “Several of the women at the shura told us they really wanted to learn how to take better care of their animals, and the (Kunar Province) director of women’s affairs asked if we could do it.”
One of the women at the shura last month was Sohila. She attended the veterinary training as a representative of the Kunar Province Directorate of Women’s Affairs, and she deemed it an unqualified success.
“Yes, it was a big help for these women, but the people of other districts should have this training, too,” Sohila said. “It would be especially useful training for widows and other women who don’t have brothers or other male relatives who can help them with the animals,” she added. “Through this training, they can increase their numbers of cows, sheep and chicken, which will help provide income for their families.”
U.S. Army Spc. Shannon Drinken of Rice Lake, Wis., took part in the training as a member of the PRT’s FET. She expressed admiration of the instructional skills the ADT’s veterinary experts displayed at the event.
“I was impressed with how patient they were and how well they were able to communicate with the women,” Drinken said. “You could really tell how involved (the Afghan women) were.”
One of the ADT members who conducted the training was U.S. Army Maj. Loren Adams of New Liberty, Iowa, the ADT’s veterinary officer.
“We didn’t present anything too complicated and, honestly, we don’t know how much they learned, because we don’t speak their language,” Adams said. “We know they were excited to get any education, and that really speaks to how little education they’ve ever had,” he continued. “I keep thinking how much more they could learn every day if they could only read, and I’m pretty sure not many women today could.”
Even Sohila, who praised the women’s veterinary seminar, noted the need for additional women’s training. However, Sohila urged the ADT and PRT to provide practical instruction to help impoverished Afghan women earn money.
“This is an excellent project, but once they learn these animal care practices, there should be other projects that are not just agricultural,” Sohila said. “For example, there could be sewing classes and classes on handicrafts so that these women could then provide income to their children in the future.
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