Tabasum Sharqi (left) opens a book she received for graduating at the top of her Fatima Girls High School class at a ceremony held at the Kunar Department of Women’s (click for more)
Soldiers from the Polish Army and the Texas National Guard Agribusiness Development Team-IV check their shot grouping during qualification on the Polish AK-74 5.56 mm Mini-Beryl short assault rifle Feb. (click for more)
U.S. Army Soldiers from Company B, 1st Battalion, 26th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division, Task Force Duke, play an impromptu game of volleyball against a team (click for more)
Dr. Mehirulla Muslim, the Nurgaram District subgovernor, addresses an audience of teachers, government officials and citizens during a ceremony to celebrate a completed solar panel electricity project Feb. 21 in (click for more)
U.S. Army Spc. Raheem Stewart, an automations specialist with TF Phoenix, steps along the rafters of the building his team helped wire for communications. Stewart, from Dallas, was one of (click for more)
An Afghan National Army soldier from Weapons Company, 1st Battalion, 201st Infantry Regiment, searches a pile of rocks in the courtyard of a high-value target home outside the village of (click for more)
U.S. Army Capt. Nicole Zupka of Fair Lawn, N.J., a battlewatch captain with Combined Joint Task Force-Paladin, helps an Afghan child with her writing skills during female engagement team training (click for more)
LOGAR PROVINCE, Afghanistan – Afghan National Army soldiers move through Kharwar District to prevent the Taliban’s freedom of movement Feb. 12. U.S. and Afghan soldiers braved more than 3 feet (click for more)
Kentucky Agribusiness Development Team II members, U.S. Army Spc. Justin Allen (left), a London, Ky., native, and U.S. Army Sgt. Nicholas Combs, a Corbin, Ky., native, get to know a (click for more)
KUNAR PROVINCE, Afghanistan – On a recent crisp, cloudless morning in Afghanistan’s Kunar Province, more than 20 members of the Iowa National Guard’s 734th Agribusiness Development Team walked out of Forward Operating Base Wright and into the farm fields around the installation with an eye toward assessing winter wheat planting progress and visiting with local farmers. The ADT found broad agricultural diversity and farmers with varying opinions of their government’s agricultural services.
One of the farmers the ADT members spoke with was Mohammed Wali Abrahim, who works about an acre of land across the street from FOB Wright. He wanted the provincial Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan to do more to help him succeed.
“The government is not doing enough to help the farmers,” Abrahim said. “We need certified seed and more fertilizers.”
However, not all farmers shared Abrahim’s view. Abudl Aziz, who also farms about an acre of land not far from FOB Wright, told ADT members he was satisfied with the provincial government’s efforts to improve agriculture.
“They gave me some shovels and other tools when I needed them,” Aziz said. “I think they (government officials) are doing a good job overall.”
In addition to visiting with farmers, members of the ADT also surveyed the crops currently under cultivation. Alongside relatively large fields of winter wheat, the ADT discovered smaller plots of parsley, spinach, clover, rice and even okra. U.S. Army Maj. Dwayne Eden of Wesley, Iowa, production agriculture specialist for the ADT, led the mission and expressed surprise at the wide range of crops right outside the base.
“We came expecting to find mostly winter wheat, and we did see plenty of that in different stages of development,” Eden said. “But the farmers here are obviously not tied to any one crop and appear to try to be making the most out of the climate here, especially in their smaller plots.”
The ADT foot patrol continued north alongside a canal leading toward Asadabad, the provincial capital. About halfway to Asadabad, the ADT found a small village, complete with three tiny shops and a water wheel the village elder used to generate electricity for the village’s few modest mud-brick homes.
U.S. Army Capt. Pat Birgy of Mt. Pleasant, Mich., contracting officer for the ADT, applauded the ingenuity of the nameless village’s elder. He also pointed out the value of spending time getting to know the Afghan people near FOB Wright.
“We probably would never have known about this place if we hadn’t patrolled out to it, and they’ve got some things here we could really help them improve,” Birgy said. “That’s what I love about the Guard,” he added. “We’re always part of the community, even when the community is in Afghanistan.”
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