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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PANJSHIR PROVINCE, Afghanistan – Mahtab Farid, a U.S. State Department public diplomacy officer, critiques a woman’s review of the Women’s Communication Conference held at the Department of Women’s Affairs located in Bazarak District here Feb. 8. The two-day training had more than 20 women in attendance and covered writing, photography and public speaking classes. Panjshir Deputy Gov. Abdul Rahman Kabiri presented the women with certificates and congratulations on the second day. (Photo by U.S. Air Force Senior Airman Amber Ashcraft, Panjshir Provincial Reconstruction Team Public Affairs)PANJSHIR PROVINCE, Afghanistan - In a small classroom in the Director of Women’s Affairs office, more than 20 women gathered, mostly teachers, for a two-day communications workshop held in Bazarak District here, beginning Feb. 8.

Shoes were placed outside the door of the classroom, and inside, the room lit up with not only the morning sun pouring through the large-paned windows, but of excited chatter and giggling from the women inside.


Mahtab Farid, a native of Santa Monica, Calif., and public diplomacy officer for the U.S. State Department, was full of energy as she began the training. Farid, who normally works out of Bagram Airfield, came to Panjshir, as she does with many provinces the Regional Command – East supports, to build capacity for Afghan women.

Farid knows the Afghan culture well. She not only has worked in Afghanistan for nearly a year now, but she was also born in nearby Iran.

“Iran and Afghanistan are neighbors, and they share religious and social cultures,” she said. “Also, in Iran we speak Farsi which is very similar to Dari, just a different accent.”

Farid began the class with a lesson on introductions. Farid, who is fluent in Farsi, introduced herself, and the Panjshir Provincial Reconstruction Team and Task Force Red Bulls public affairs servicemembers who assisted in the workshop. To learn more about the attendees, Farid had the women pair up and introduce each other to the rest of the group, an exercise requiring them to use their interviewing and public speaking skills.

“The conversation exercise really helped us out,” said Naziya Rizai, the principle for Sangona High School in Panjshir, through an interpreter. “The best activities are those that have practical application.”

“This session was rough on them. It is hard for them to speak in public,” Farid said. “It is important for them to learn good public speaking skills, so that when they need to present themselves in front of important people, they can do well and get the jobs, or grants, or accepted into schools.”

Other classes for the workshop included photography and writing skills. By day two of the workshop, the women completed their first assignment: a written proposal on a goal they are working for in their life, whether that was a job request, school attendance, or grant proposals.

“This was a learning opportunity,” explained Rizai. “I could use the skills taught to write and speak … the class resolved some of the written issues the women had.”
Farid said she was very proud of the women for working so hard on the assignments.

“Communication in Afghanistan in general is very ineffective due to the wars, the lack of transparency and censorship,” said Farid. “When it comes to women affairs, it is much worse because women are not allowed to express themselves freely.”

Teaching courses like this two-day seminar is a passion of hers, Farid said. She explained that she loves to visit the communities and help these women in any way she can to give back to Afghanistan and to truly make a difference in their lives.

“My hope is that we can build capacity and provide these women with educational tools,” said Farid. “They can use these tools and make something of themselves with what they’ve learned.”

After lunch the second day of the workshop, the women were presented certificates of training. To show community support for the class, Panjshir Deputy Gov. Abdul Rahman Kabiri gave a small speech and thanked Farid and the others for teaching the course.  He said he appreciated the respect displayed for their culture by ensuring that the class was for women, by women.

After the men left, the women swirled around the room, sharing laughs and taking pictures before they had to leave.

“If there are classes in the future, on topics like these,” said Rizai, “I would most definitely attend again.PANJSHIR PROVINCE, Afghanistan – Abede Hakimi, a college student and literacy teacher at the United Nations Habitat, practices professional writing during a Women’s Communication Conference at the Department of Women’s Affairs located in Bazarak District here Feb. 8. The two-day training had more than 20 women in attendance and covered writing, photography and public speaking classes. Panjshir Deputy Gov. Abdul Rahman Kabiri presented the women with certificates and congratulations on the second day. (Photo by U.S. Air Force Senior Airman Amber Ashcraft, Panjshir Provincial Reconstruction Team Public Affairs)PANJSHIR PROVINCE, Afghanistan – U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Ashlee Lolkus, Task Force Red Bulls public affairs noncommissioned officer-in-charge, and Chandler, Minn., native, shows Rohubza Dousti, a trainer and supervisor at the United Nations Habitat and a Panjshir youth group leader, how to take a proper news photo during a Women’s Communication Workshop at the Department of Women’s Affairs located in Bazarak District Feb. 8. The two-day training had more than 20 women in attendance and covered writing, photography and public speaking classes. Panjshir Deputy Gov. Abdul Rahman Kabiri presented the women with certificates and congratulations on the second day. (Photo by U.S. Air Force Senior Airman Amber Ashcraft, Panjshir Provincial Reconstruction Team Public Affairs)

Last Updated on Saturday, 12 February 2011 02:02


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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.