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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PARWAN PROVINCE, Afghanistan – Ghouse Loynab (center), a human terrain analyst with Human Terrain Team, Task Force Red Bulls, on patrol with Alpha Troop, 1st Squadron, 113th Infantry Regiment, Task Force Redhorse, a part of 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 34th Infantry Division, Task Force Red Bulls, listens as an interpreter speaks with a villager Feb. 2. Loynab speaks with villagers about governance and development issues. (Photo by U.S. Army Spc. Kristina L. Gupton, Task Force Red Bulls Public Affairs)


PARWAN PROVINCE, Afghanistan – Rocks were being thrown at U.S. forces. One hit Ghouse Loynab in the head. It was the definition of an unfriendly scenario. One where, in the interests of safety, the American forces with Loynab might have withdrawn from the Afghan village.


However, Loynab, a human terrain analyst with Human Terrain Team, Task Force Red Bulls, had another idea. He recounts his conversation with a village elder that day -- a conversation he used to disarm the conflict.

“I said ‘So, this is really cool. My dad taught me about Afghanistan, but he never told me that you guys would rock people. Guys, you need to learn, I don’t care who you like or who you dislike but when somebody comes into your house, according to the culture, you never ever disrespect your guest,’” said Loynab.

“They were very understanding after that,” he finished.

In a war that has come to be less about killing the enemy and more about establishing trust and even friendship with the people, Loynab is a cutting-edge weapon. He is a human terrain analyst, and a man with a foot in both the United States and Afghanistan.

It is how, as a human terrain analyst in Afghanistan, he can shame a village when they abuse Americans.

A job transfer brought his family from Afghanistan to the U.S. in 1972. After Loynab was born, his father became a successful entrepreneur trying his hand at dry cleaning, cab companies and the restaurant business. Yet, for all of their success, his father would not let Loynab forget his roots were in Afghanistan.   

According to Loynab, his father told him he should respect America all the time, but also respect the culture of Afghanistan from which his grandfather and forefathers came.

He learned English, Spanish and Dari, and he is learning Pashtu. He also observes the customs of his forefathers’ country, kissing his father whenever he greets him. But he is an American. Loynab said he loves his home in Durham, N.C., where he can drive down the street and stop to talk to people, and where his passionately loved Duke Blue Devils basketball team resides.

This mixed background gives him both the credibility and perspective necessary to approach Afghans or confront a rock-throwing village to further the coalition mission.

Loynab explains to Afghans the Americans are there to help them so that one day they can take control of their own country.

Human terrain analysts have been in Afghanistan for years. They work by analyzing statistical data about the population like a social scientist, or by engaging with local leaders.   

“I actually have a passion for what I’m doing: one, because I know the job really well now; two, I know the people, the customs, the culture; and three, you have to be willing to do it,” Loynab said.

U.S. Army Maj. Bobbie Jo Mayes, the women’s empowerment coordinator with the Kentucky Agribusiness Development Team II from Lawrenceburg, Ky., has worked with Loynab multiple times.

Mayes’ job is to provide women with skills in agribusiness that will allow them to make a living wage. Loynab works with Mayes to make that happen, but he has also brought the needy to her attention.

Recently he and his wife, who also works for the coalition in Afghanistan, pointed Mayes to a group of 27 displaced families in desperate need of help.

“These kids look like they have not eaten for months,” Mayes said. “Stuff I would never have known about unless they were there.”

That is just one way Loynab is able to make a difference. By knowing what his home country can do for the land of his ancestors, he attempts to bridge the cultural and communication gaps, bringing the two sides together and closer to peace.

“(Afghans) need to know this. They need to keep learning this,” said Loynab. “We’re here to help, to build Afghanistan a better place to live for the Afghan people, and were out.”PARWAN PROVINCE, Afghanistan – Ghouse Loynab (right), a human terrain analyst with Human Terrain Team Task Force Red Bulls, visits the village of Khanaka with Alpha Troop 1st Squadron, 113th Infantry Regiment, Task Force Redhorse, a part of 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 34th Infantry Division, takes notes as he talks to villagers while on patrol Feb. 2. Loynab speaks with villagers about governance and development issues. (Photo by U.S. Army Spc. Kristina L. Gupton, Task Force Red Bulls Public Affairs) PARWAN PROVINCE, Afghanistan – Ghouse Loynab (near left), a human terrain analyst with Human Terrain Team, Task Force Red Bulls, out on patrol with Alpha Troop, 1st Squadron, 113th Infantry Regiment, Task Force Redhorse, a part of 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 34th Infantry Division, Task Force Red Bulls, takes notes as he talks to a villager about governance and development issues Feb. 2. (Photo by U.S. Army Spc. Kristina L. Gupton, Task Force Red Bulls Public Affairs)

Last Updated on Tuesday, 15 February 2011 00:15


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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.