50 graduate Fatima Girls High School

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

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)

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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PARWAN PROVINCE - Saleha Zareen (left), U.S. Army Maj. Bobbie Mayes, Woman’s Empowerment coordinator with the Kentucky Agribusiness Development Team, from Lawrenceburg, Ky., and Sulhaila Kohistani, stand in Kalzani's store at the Bagram Air Field Bazaar here Dec. 12. Zareen and Kohistani were the first two Afghan women merchants to be contracted by the Army and Air Force Exchange Service in Afghanistan when they joined the bazaar. (Photo by U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Ryan C. Matson, Task Force Red Bulls Public Affairs)PARWAN PROVINCE, Afghanistan – At Bagram Air Field, you will find something you won’t find anywhere else in Afghanistan – the first two Afghan women merchants contracted by the Army Air Force Exchange Service.

“You’re number one!” said U.S. Army Maj. Bobbie Mayes, woman’s empowerment coordinator with the Kentucky Agribusiness Development Team, from Lawrenceburg, Ky., as she put her arms around her friends, Sulhaila Kohistani and Saleha Zareen Dec. 12.

The AAFES and the 334th Brigade Support Battalion, 2nd Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 34th Infantry Division, run the bazaar on BAF. The bazaar is comprised largely of local vendors selling locally-made products. Servicemembers, as well as civilians, frequent the bazaar, which provides a boost to the local economy and is particularly busy this holiday season.

Since August, as a result of Mayes’ relationships with Kohistani and Zareen, the bazaar also features five women vendors.

The five women’s shops feature handmade clothes for men, women and children, blankets, rugs, shoes, jewellery, leather items and a slew of other products.

Mayes said she became involved with the bazaar after she was contacted by the 86th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, the previous unit in charge of the bazaar. They told her they had some open shops at the bazaar and would like to try to involve some female vendors.

“They couldn’t find any local women who would come to it, and I told them I had two very strong women who own their own shops, and so I asked Miss Kohistani and Miss Zareen, and even though Miss Zareen had received death threats before this, they said, ‘You know what, we’ll come on base,’” Mayes explained.

Mayes was able to convince Kohistani and Zareen to open shops at the bazaar, while the 86th also added three female vendors of their own.

“They (Kohistani and Zareen) are the two highest women in the provincial government,” Mayes said. “They came on base, and it’s been a struggle, but that’s how it came about. The threats they get are because they are so successful, and the men are not necessarily happy with that. But these women show women can make money and they can provide for their families. Eighty percent of the things these women sell go back to their families.”

Mayes said she met Kohistani and Zareen through her work with the ADT as women’s empowerment coordinator in the local area. Kohistani is the Parwan Deputy Director of Women’s Affairs.

“These are the women who all the others come to for help,” Mayes said.

One of the ways Zareen helps the other local Afghan women is through the Women’s Handcraft Association of Parwan Province. Zareen said 800 women in the local area work for her to make the clothes, jewelry and other handiwork she sells at her store at the bazaar.

“We are very happy because Major Mayes is a very kind woman and she is helping all the women,” Zareen said.

Even though there is risk involved, Mayes said the women are courageous pioneers, proving that everything can benefit from a woman’s touch.

PARWAN PROVINCE – Sulhaila Kohistani (left), U.S. Army Maj. Bobbie Mayes, woman’s empowerment coordinator with the Kentucky Agribusiness Development Team, from Lawrenceburg, Ky., and Saleha Zareen, stand in front of the women's stores at the Bagram Air Field Bazaar here Dec. 12. Zareen and Kohistani were the first two Afghan women merchants to be contracted by the Army and Air Force Exchange Service in Afghanistan when they joined the bazaar. (Photo by U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Ryan C. Matson, Task Force Red Bulls Public Affairs)PARWAN PROVINCE - Some of the handmade clothing servicemembers could find in Saleha Zareen's store at the Bagram Air Field Bazaar are displayed Dec. 12. Zareen is one of five women vendors at the bazaar. (Photo by U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Ryan C. Matson, Task Force Red Bulls Public Affairs)



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Coalition forces engage insurgents in Kapisa

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

Coalition forces and aircraft responded to an insurgent attack. Four insurgents were killed by air strike and three were killed by direct fire from coalition forces.

All rounds were reported safe and on target. There were no reports of injuries or damages to civilians in the area.

ANSF, ISAF begin major operation in Laghman valley

LAGHMAN PROVINCE, Afghanistan – The Afghan National Security Forces, partnered with U.S. Task Forces Red Bulls and Phoenix and French Task Force La Fayette, began operations in Galuch Valley, Laghman Province, March 25.

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.

While conducting operations, the forces found multiple weapons caches including assorted rocket propelled grenades, mortar rounds, Russian rockets, materials to make homemade explosives, various other ordnances and communication equipment.  

While moving through the valley, unit leadership met with village elders to discuss the security situation and to allow them to give up insurgents still in the area.

The operation will assist the Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan in establishing the valley as a new district giving the Afghan people in the area freedom from the insurgency.   

President Hamid Karzai approved the creation of the additional district and hopes the new district will help improve the security of the area and support the reconstruction effort.

Mohammad Iqbal Azizi, Laghman Province governor, held a press conference March 7 announcing the establishment of a new district located in the valley.

ANSF, TF Bastogne continue operations in Kunar


KUNAR PROVINCE, Afghanistan – Afghan National Security Forces and coalition troops from Task Force Bastogne continued operations in the Shigal District March 18 after clearing the village of Lawsin and the surrounding area.

Afghan leaders, coalition forces look forward

PAKTYA, Afghanistan – Leaders from across eastern Afghanistan attended a security conference March 9 at Forward Operating Base Thunder, the home of the Afghan Army’s 203rd Thunder Corps.