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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PAKTYA PROVINCE, Afghanistan – Zormat District Gov. Gulab Shah (standing right) and more than 50 tribal elders from the district meet with Paktya province officials during a shura in Zormat, Paktya Province Jan. 10. The meeting allowed the Afghan government officials and local elders to open a dialogue on issues that are affecting the Zormat District and what can be done to bring resolution to those issues. (Photo by U.S. Army Sgt. John P Sklaney III, 2-45th Agribusiness Development Team)PAKTYA PROVINCE, Afghanistan – Afghan government officials conducted an outreach meeting in Zormat to discuss a variety of projects in the province Jan. 10.

Abdul Rahman Mangal, deputy governor of Paktya Province, and Gen. Destigeer, Afghan Uniformed Police commander for Paktya Province met with Zormat District Gov. Gulab Shah and more than 50 tribal elders from around Zormat.

Mangal discussed improvements that have been made in Zormat.
”Afghans have much to be proud of around the province,” said Mangal. “We (Afghans) need to work harder to make all of Afghanistan better.”

Mangal said security in the region is paramount in order to build a stronger and more responsive government to the citizens of Zormat. Zormat District is an area of concern for Afghan officials in Paktya Province since it is one of the most volatile districts in the province. Mangal discussed the need to increase the number of AUP checkpoints and also the need for increased vigilance of the citizens across the district.

The AUP commander talked to the elders about the need to work together in dealing with insurgents.

“Afghans need to help each other in ridding Afghanistan of those who wish to harm innocent citizens,” said Destigeer. “We must stand together as Afghans to form a united front for all Afghans to look forward, not back.”

During the meeting, tribal elders brought up issues such as rebuilding the school that recently burned to the ground in Zormat, the lack of wheat seed distribution for district farmers, and of local Afghans detained by coalition forces. Mangal said he would take all of their concerns and voice them to the government in Kabul.

The Zormat meeting was attended by the commanders of Team Paktya: U.S. Army Col. Robert Roshell of Lawton, Okla., 2-45th Agribusiness Development Team commander; U.S. Air Force Lt. Col. Marchal Magee of Issaquah, Wash., Paktya Provincial Reconstruction Team commander; and U.S. Army Lt. Col. Steve Boesen, from Ankeny, Iowa, commander of 1st Battalion, 168th Infantry Regiment, which falls under 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division, Task Force Rakkasan, during the deployment.

“The U.S. needs to transition from doing things for the Afghans and instead help the Afghans in governance of their country,” said Boesen. “The Afghan provincial officials were able to hear concerns from the Zormat tribal elders and hopefully will act upon those concerns to bring positive resolution.”

As more tribal elders become involved in the meetings, governance across the district will increase, Boesen said. Increased participation in the government will also break the cycle of insurgency, which strives to keep bonds from being made between Kabul, the provincial government, local officials and the citizens.

“It was good to see the provincial leadership getting out and visiting with the district subgovernors and tribal elders,” said Roshell. “These meetings are critical to the advancement of a more effective and respected government at the provincial level.”

The Paktya PRT’s common purpose is to empower local governments to govern more effectively. The deputy governor asked for names of tribal elders who would travel to Kabul to advocate for Zormat. More than 20 elders provided their names for the trip to Kabul.

“Every mission that Team Paktya conducts brings more positive results for the province,” said Magee.  “The future of this country is in connecting the people with the government, leaving the insurgents behind.”

PAKTYA PROVINCE, Afghanistan – Abdul Rahman Mangal, deputy governor of Paktya Province, conducts a meeting prior to the shura with Afghan officials in Zormat Jan. 10. Mangal went to Zormat to discuss a variety of issues affecting the Afghans in Zormat District. (Photo by U.S. Army Sgt. John P Sklaney III, 2-45th Agribusiness Development Team)



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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.