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 – Nearly four dozen private nursery owners gathered Jan 8. at the Mandakol Nursery Center in the provincial capital of Asadabad to kick off six days of specialized training supporting the still-developing fruit and nut production industry here.
The Kunar Provincial Forestry Director conducted the training, and the Iowa National Guard’s 734th Agribusiness Development Team funded the effort.
The nursery training had the full support of the Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan. Kunar Governor Haji Sayed Fazlullah Wahidi stressed the training’s significance in opening remarks to attendees.
“This is advanced technical training, and the only way Afghanistan can move forward is by utilizing advanced techniques,” Wahidi said. “Trees produce the highest-value crops we have in Kunar, and that means if you are successful, it will benefit the entire provincial economy.”
Wahidi also pointed out that Kunar merchants currently import fruits and nuts from Pakistan and other Afghan provinces. He urged the nursery owners to “take every moment of this training” to change that situation.
“There is no reason we should be importing fruits and nuts,” Wahidi said. “We have a superior growing climate for these crops, and Inshallah (God willing), you will produce enough for Kunar to become the exporter we should be.”
U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Eric Pugh of Winterset, Iowa, the Iowa ADT’s forestry specialist, helped organize the event and arranged to have it funded.
“What was exciting to me is that we didn’t have to develop the training materials or provide nursery expertise, because there was already plenty of expertise within the provincial government,” Pugh said. “All we had to do was help them get the training session organized, and they did the rest.”
Pugh also emphasized that private-sector nursery owners received the training. He called that “a very important aspect” of what the ADT was trying to accomplish.
“All the people who came to this training are members of the Kunar Nursery Association, and they aren’t just getting hands-on nursery training, they also are getting business training – how to run their business,” Pugh said. “That’s why we’re the Agribusiness Development Team and not the agriculture development team.”
The nursery training concluded Jan. 13 with a brief ceremony and the presentation of completion certificates. Jamaluddin Rohani, an agronomist and the Iowa ADT’s cultural advisor, facilitated a feedback session with the 45 nursery owners who attended the training.
“The nursery owners all thought this training was excellent, and they want more of it,” Rohani said. “The nursery owners also think the ADT should provide training for farmers who come to the nurseries for trees.”
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