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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KUNAR PROVINCE, Afghanistan – Eastern Afghanistan’s scenery is stunning. Its beauty lies in lush river valleys to rocky, terraced farms to snow-peaked mountains. Though it is a combat zone, the beauty is unparalleled to any other place in the world.

Yet, there is a darker side to this war. Hungry Afghan children with wide, inquisitive eyes and dirt-caked faces stare back at U.S. Soldiers with curiosity and wonder. The children huddle close to each other, building up enough confidence to stare back and maybe even break into a smile.

Are the children here much different than anywhere else? No, they were just born into less-fortunate lives. Their lives don’t include white picket fences and manicured lawns.

A few weeks ago, U.S. Soldiers cleared a portion of the Pech River Valley in eastern Afghanistan’s Kunar Province. The area is typical of the region with rocky and mostly undeveloped farmland threatened continuously by Taliban fighters.

Most of the children there only have a few sets of clothes. Most of those sets are tattered or ripped and in constant need of laundering. Some of the villages have running water, but imagine taking a cold bath with one bar of soap about once every week.

Some Soldiers on the patrol were empathetic to the plight of these children and used the opportunity to hand out food. The children tentatively accepted the small gifts and, once they figured out what the packages were, they clutched them close to their small bodies.

As the holidays approach, we should think about those less fortunate around the world. For the most part, Americans are lucky to be born Americans and haven’t earned it.

This year, try not to think about what cool, new trinket would dazzle your friends. Instead, be appreciative for what you already have.

Recently, some other Soldiers did just that at Combat Outpost Fortress, also in Kunar Province. U.S. Army 1st Sgt. Corey G. Myers explained this season he is grateful for what he has and reflected on what he can do for others.

Myers has a family with two growing boys and expenses that go along with that. Yet, even while deployed to Afghanistan, he has set aside money to help children from different nations experience their dream.

“All children want is to go to Disneyland or some place like that,” said the Fort Campbell, Ky., native assigned to Company B, 2nd Infantry Battalion, 327th Infantry Regiment, Task Force No Slack.

One of the funds that he donates to allows for terminally ill children to visit Orlando, Fla., to live out their dream.

“Every Thursday is Christmas there with a Santa Claus because some of these children won’t live to see their next Christmas or birthday or holiday,” Myers said.

Because he donates to children’s funds like this every year, he said he encourages his Soldiers to donate to whatever cause they believe in.

“I believe in karma,” said U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Jacob M. Murphy, tactical operations center noncommissioned officer in Myers’ company.

Murphy, a native of San Bruno, Calif., has two children and another one on the way. This year, he donated to a fund to help prevent Sudden Infant Death Syndrome because he said he believes in something greater than himself.

“You do good to others and they do good to you,” Murphy said.

With all the pains in the economy and bills rolling in, it’s important to do as these Soldiers have already done – put others first.

Walking around Afghanistan, it’s easy to see firsthand what a couple of dollars or a few packages of food can do for children throughout the world. And as Myers said, he can take the $20 he spends in tobacco a month and put it toward something greater than himself.

This season when coming together to celebrate the holidays with family and friends back home, try to remember the examples of these different Soldiers deployed thousands of miles away. Try to remember that even though they live in a war zone, some still find it in their hearts to give what little food they have in their pockets to hungry children with curious eyes.
KUNAR PROVINCE, Afghanistan – A boy in the village of Dag Mene in the Shalay Valley of eastern Afghanistan’s Kunar Province curiously eyes the camera during a security patrol in the area Nov. 4. Soldiers from Company C, 2nd Battalion, 327th Infantry Regiment, Task Force No Slack, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division, cleared this village and spoke with the elders about security. (Photo by U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Mark Burrell, Task Force Bastogne Public Affairs)KUNAR PROVINCE, Afghanistan – During the final phase of Operation Bulldog Bite in the mountains above the Pech River Valley in eastern Afghanistan’s Kunar Province, three children look on inquisitively as Soldiers secure their village Nov. 23. The children were shy at first, but later opened up after they were handed food from Soldiers assigned to Company B, 1st Battalion, 327th Infantry Regiment, Task Force Bulldog, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division. (Photo by U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Mark Burrell, Task Force Bastogne Public Affairs)KUNAR PROVINCE, Afghanistan – An Afghan girl carrying her baby brother clutches a box of food while her older brother stands by at a small village outcropping on a mountainside overlooking the Pech River Valley in eastern Afghanistan’s Kunar Province Nov. 23. Soldiers from Company B, 1st Battalion, 327th Infantry Regiment, Task Force Bulldog, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division, cleared this village during Operation Bulldog Bite and handed out some food to this girl and her siblings. (Photo by U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Mark Burrell, Task Force Bastogne Public Affairs)KUNAR PROVINCE, Afghanistan – An Afghan girl searches for her mother in her village during the final phase of Operation Bulldog Bite in the mountains above the Pech River Valley in eastern Afghanistan’s Kunar Province Nov. 23. The girl was later picked up by a villager and brought back home. (Photo by U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Mark Burrell, Task Force Bastogne Public Affairs)


Last Updated on Wednesday, 15 December 2010 12:39


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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.