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 – It took 48 years and an unusual set of coincidences, but a U.S. linguist born here found her sister-in-law during an animal care training seminar for Afghan women in the Chowkay District Jan. 31.
U.S. linguist Shafiqa Ansary, 54, of Union City, Calif., attended the training in her capacity as an English-Pashto interpreter. She normally works for the Kunar Provincial Reconstruction Team, but was detailed that day to assist the Iowa National Guard’s 734th Agribusiness Development Team, which conducted the animal care training.
According to Ansary, she did not know the training would take place in Chowkay until she arrived at the training site. During introductions at the beginning of the class, Ansary mentioned her brother-in-law was from Chowkay, and that she had spent a considerable amount of time in Chowkay herself until the age of 6. Ansary then began recalling the names of family members she had spent time with in Chowkay, including her sister’s husband’s sister, Qadrie.
A woman attending the class told Ansary, “Qadrie still lives here! I’ll go get her.”
Less than a half-hour later, Qadrie arrived, and the training briefly stopped amid a flurry of hugs, kisses and tearful remembrances. Qadrie quietly attended the remainder of the training, and afterward, she and Ansary reminisced.
“When I was just a little girl, I would sit by Qadrie’s (oven) for hours, and she would bake me the most delicious corn bread,” Ansary said. “I never dreamed that I would see her again.
“My family moved to Kabul when I was 6,” Ansary continued. “I married when I was 18, and my husband and I lived in the U.S. for several years in the ‘70s while he finished his doctorate. We left Afghanistan for good when I was 23, after the revolution,” she added. “When I decided to become a linguist, I had no idea I would come back to this place and find dear Qadrie.”
Qadrie expressed equal astonishment at becoming reacquainted with Ansary, and she reflected on the reunion’s larger personal implications.
“So many of my family were killed or became refugees during the revolution and civil war,” Qadrie said. “When I look at Shafiqa, I see my entire family.”
Qadrie also described the reunion with Ansary as a symbol of the positive nature of the U.S. presence in Afghanistan.
“If the U.S. had not come here, I would never have seen Shafiqa again,” Qadrie said. “We are poor people, and we need so many things that only the Americans are helping us with.”
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