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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)

Polish and US Forces bond through weapons

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)

TF Duke Soldiers volley for peace

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)

Nurgaram District leaders electrify Nangaresh schools

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)

10th CAB Soldiers bring communications to Bagram’s east side

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ANA, Red Bulls search Parwai during Operation Brass Monkey

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)

Female engagement teams trained to aid communication with Afghan women

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)

ANA, TF Storm break trail, make difference in Kharwar

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)

Ky. ADT II begins Panjshir sheep parasite project

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)

Engineer Soldiers deliver aid to Afghans

An Afghan carrying a child approaches U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Peter Moeller of Atkins, Iowa, a medic with Task Force Red Bulls, for humanitarian aid at Qale-Mussa Pain Middle School (click for more)

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KUNAR PROVINCE, Afghanistan – U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Bennett Groth of Moville, Iowa, production agriculture specialist for the Iowa National Guard’s 734th Agribusiness Development Team, tills the ground inside the greenhouse at the Chowkay Demonstration Farm in Afghanistan’s Kunar Province Dec. 5, as U.S. Army 1st Lt. Scott Rottinghaus of Waterloo, Iowa, also a production agriculture specialist for the ADT, looks on. Both Groth and Rottinghaus are full-time farmers in Iowa. (Photo by U.S. Air Force Capt. Peter Shinn, 734th Agribusiness Development Team)


KUNAR PROVINCE, Afghanistan – By American agricultural standards, the two-wheeled, Chinese-made tractor the Iowa National Guard’s 734th Agribusiness Development brought to the Chowkay Demonstration Farm Dec. 5 was not much to look at.

For the farmers of the Chowkay District of Afghanistan’s Kunar Province, however, the tractor represented a level of technology not often seen since revolution and war consumed Afghanistan’s agriculture sector in the late 1970s.

Mashuqallah, the agriculture extension manager for Chowkay District, expressed delight at the ADT’s reintroduction of mechanized agriculture to the demonstration farm. He emphasized he had experience using such equipment, but most local farmers did not.

“It’s a new technology for our farmers so they can get familiar with it,” Mashuqallah said. “Although I’m familiar with it, having it here will allow other farmers to learn how to use it.”

Production agriculture specialists with the ADT first tilled the ground in the demonstration farm’s greenhouse to prepare the seedbed for vegetable planting. Then they looked on as Mashuqallah used the tractor to till large strips of earth outside the greenhouse. After Mashuqallah had taken a turn, the ADT production agriculture specialists trained Mashuqalla’s son and several local farmers on the tractor’s operation.

The ADT’s project manager for the Chowkay District, U.S. Army 1st Lt. Scott Shirk of Emmetsburg, Iowa, arranged to purchase the tractor. He explained the tractor would also enable training on the benefits of mechanical planting.

“We bought a seed drill attachment for the tractor, and what we’re going to do is establish test plots of mechanically planted wheat and test plots of hand-sown wheat,” Shirk said. “Most farmers around here hand sow their wheat, but we’ll be able to show them how mechanically planted wheat has a more uniform planting depth and seed distribution, and that alone should boost yields a good bit.”

For Mashuqallah, the tractor was only the latest agriculture improvement for Chowkay District brought about by the Iowa ADT. He also pointed to the construction of the demonstration farm greenhouse, installation of a new irrigation water pump and recent Veterinary Outreach Sustainment Programs in his district as examples of the ADT’s positive impact on local agriculture.

“The Afghan people are a good nation and they will never forget your help,” Mashuqallah said.

At the same, time Mashuqallah insisted the ADT could be even more helpful if it addressed the district’s degraded canal system.

“The first thing we need is water, because agriculture depends on water,” Mashuqallah said. “If there’s no water, there’s no agriculture; if there’s no agriculture, there’s no us. It’s a fact!” he exclaimed. “This entire area is facing the same problem.”

Shirk concurred with Mashuqallah on the importance of reliable water supplies to agricultural production. However, Shirk also urged patience.

“Mashuqallah has been very good to work with, and we understand the problems he’s facing in Chowkay,” Shirk said. “The primary issue he’s dealing with is the canal system the district uses for irrigation, but Chowkay is not the only district we’re working in, and they are all facing similar problems,” he added. “That means we can’t focus all our attention in Chowkay. As the project manager for Chowkay, I wish we could, but I understand why we’ve got to allocate our resources to other districts, too.”KUNAR PROVINCE, Afghanistan – Mashuqallah, agriculture extension director for the Chowkay District of Afghanistan's Kunar Province, tills ground outside the greenhouse at the Chowkay Demonstration Farm on Dec. 5. U.S. Army 1st Lt. Scott Shirk of Emmetsburg, Iowa, Chowkay project manager for the Iowa National Guard’s 734th Agribusiness Development Team, stands by to provide assistance. The ADT brought the two-wheeled tractor to the demonstration farm to prepare the greenhouse seedbed for vegetable planting, and to provide training on the tractor to Mashuqallah and other local farmers. (Photo by U.S. Air Force Capt. Peter Shinn, 734th Agribusiness Development Team)


Last Updated on Thursday, 09 December 2010 23:06


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BAGRAM AIRFIELD, Afghanistan – Coalition forces killed seven insurgents in defensive operations in the Alah Say District, Kapisa Province, eastern Afghanistan, March 29.

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Soldiers of the Afghan National Army’s 201st Corps, Afghan National Police’s 202nd Shamshod and the U.S. Army’s 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 34th Infantry Division, TF Red Bulls, supported by the 10th Combat Aviation Brigade, TF Phoenix, conducted an air assault into the valley to remove enemy forces. Battle Group Richelieu, TF La Fayette, provided artillery support from Kapisa Province.

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