How one man makes a difference in Afghanistan

PARWAN PROVINCE, Afghanistan – Ghouse Loynab, human terrain analyst with Human Terrain Team, TF Red Bulls, takes notes as he talks to a villager about governance and development issues Feb. (click for more)

Guardians of Peace produces results in Paktya

PAKTYA PROVINCE, Afghanistan – U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Clint Koerperich of Cedar Rapids, Iowa, squad leader for 2nd Platoon, Company C., 1st Battalion, 168th Infantry Regiment, patrols with ANA soldiers (click for more)

Working together to put Afghan heroes back together again

PAKTYA, Afghanistan – Gheiratullah, an Afghan medical soldier, practices self aid and buddy care at the Paktya Regional Medical Center Feb. 13. (click for more)

Bidder’s conference places Afghans in control

PAKTYA PROVINCE, Afghanistan – U.S. Army Spc. Crystal Sims (right), from Duncan, Okla., a project manager for the 2-45th Agribusiness Development Team, assists an Afghan with registering at the bidder’s (click for more)

Panjshir women strengthen communication skills

PANJSHIR PROVINCE, Afghanistan – U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Ashlee Lolkus, TF Red Bulls, shows Rohubza Dousti, a trainer and supervisor at the United Nations Habitat and a Panjshir youth group (click for more)

Ghazni PRT assesses village, builds relationships

GHAZNI PROVINCE, Afghanistan - Ghazni PRT members walk among the locals engaging in conversation during a village assessment in Touheed Abad in Ghazni Province Feb. 6. (click for more)

Iowa ADT inks deal for orchard training farm

KUNAR PROVINCE, Afghanistan – Haji Hazrat Ali Gull, a fruit producer, explains improvements he already made to a proposed orchard training farm site he owns to U.S. Army Master Sgt. (click for more)

Co. A makes successful return to Shebatkyl

LAGHMAN PROVINCE, Afghanistan - A team of Kiowa helicopters provide overhead security for U.S. Army Soldiers from Company A, 1st Battalion, 133rd Infantry Regiment, and Afghan National Army Soldiers from (click for more)

Delegation conducts market outreach mission in Zormat

PAKTYA PROVINCE, Afghanistan – Mohammad Masood, Paktya Agricultural Department advisor, and U.S. Army Col. Robert Roshell, 2-45 Agribusiness Development Team commander from Lawton, Okla., examine spices during a mission to (click for more)

Kunar PRT medics help healing at Asadabad Hospital

KUNAR PROVINCE, Afghanistan – U.S. Navy Lt. Cmdr. Lynn Redman of San Antonio, Kunar Provincial Reconstruction Team nurse practitioner, examines a female Afghan patient with Afghan Dr. Ismat Shinwary, Asadabad (click for more)

PAKTIKA PROVINCE, Afghanistan – U.S. Army Maj. Gary Gile, Paktika Provincial Reconstruction Team civil affairs generalist from Concordia, Kan., and Paktika Director of Economy Muhammad Ayoub participate in an agriculture meeting Jan. 23. Gile works with Afghans to grasp a better understanding of Paktika’s various needs. During the meeting, Gile discussed recent agricultural problems in the area and solutions to those problems. (Photo by U.S. Air Force Senior Airman Ashley N. Avecilla, Paktika Provincial Reconstruction Team Public Affairs)PAKTIKA PROVINCE, Afghanistan – Paktika Provincial Reconstruction Team civil affairs Soldiers trained and deployed together, but are located in four separate districts throughout Paktika Province to accomplish their mission in Afghanistan.

Just as reconstruction progresses at various rates from province to province in Afghanistan, reconstruction, to include governance, progresses at various rates from district to district within Paktika.

In order to keep a pulse on the needs and perceptions of the population in Paktika, civil affairs team members from the 415th Civil Affairs Battalion out of Kalamazoo, Mich., frequently interact with local villagers and village elders.

U.S. Army Maj. Gary Gile, CA generalist who calls Concordia, Kans., home, explained that the CAT as a whole acts as a liaison for the military when it comes to connecting Afghans and the Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan.

“The role of civil affairs is to go out and talk with the people,” said U.S. Army 1st Lt. John Heide, CA specialist from Kalamazoo, Mich. “As support to the PRT, we go out into the villages of the various districts to see how GIRoA is helping and supporting the people of Afghanistan.”

The CAT adapts to meet the needs of the population in the four districts of Sharan, Orgun, Zerok and Waza Khwa. For example, in Sharan District, where the bulk of the PRT is located, the CAT role is different from that of the other three districts and acts as the Civil-Military Operations Center. U.S. Army Lt. Col. Barry Whyte of Fresno, Calif., is the CMOC commander.

“I am responsible for ensuring the health and welfare of my teams,” he said. “I am also responsible for the job assignment and professional development for eight other CA soldiers in four locations throughout Paktika.”

When it comes to the CMOC, wearing several hats is the name of the game. Besides attending brigade meetings for coordination of activities with the PRT, Gile’s main role in Sharana is to advise the Sharana City mayor and the provincial director of agriculture, irrigation and livestock, more commonly known as the DAIL.

If those jobs aren’t enough to juggle, Gile also serves as a project officer for some of the agricultural projects. Out of all his responsibilities, Gile said the most significant role he plays is adviser to the DAIL because he has the potential to impact the whole province in a positive way.

As for Heide, in addition to advising the provincial director of population, he serves as both the linguist manager for the PRT and the director and coordinator of the PRT’s humanitarian assistance like food, supplies and clothing.

“I am attached to (a unit in 4th Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division) as a CA asset helping conduct village assessments and gathering atmospherics for Sharana District to support the PRT and Red Currahee missions,” he explained.

According to Heide, the most significant project in the CMOC right now is the development of a trash pick-up program for the Sharana bazaar. No matter the mission, there are bound to be challenges.

“The biggest obstacle so far has been security restraints,” Gile explained. “Security requirements have made it very difficult to get out and meet with the local government officials I am mentoring.”

In Heide’s opinion, cultural and language barriers between the Afghans and coalition forces are a constant challenge.

“We all want the same things: a stable and peaceful Afghanistan. But the ways ahead are sometimes in conflict,” Heide explained.

Despite these obstacles, the CMOC presses on to leave a lasting impression on Afghanistan through reconstruction efforts. Gile said he is keeping specific goals for this deployment modest.

“We are here such a short time that I hope to just have a positive influence on the provincial leaders I am mentoring,” Gile said.

“My goal … is to help the people of Paktika Province the best that I can, “Heide said. “In the end if I can affect a little change here and there, maybe the people of this Province will see it and be changed for the better, too.”

The CMOC commander said his goal is to maximize the effectiveness of CA and bring his team home safely to their families. He is pleased with the accomplishments of CA across Paktika.

“I think the fact that we have our teams fully engaged and deployed in four different locations is an accomplishment in itself,” Whyte said. “The CA teams are all value added to this PRT and to the maneuver units that they work with and support.”
PAKTIKA PROVINCE, Afghanistan – U.S. Army Lt. Col. Barry Whyte, Paktika Provincial Reconstruction Team civil-military operations center commander from Fresno, Calif., speaks with the Ghardez media coordinator (left) and the United Nations high commissioner for refugees Jan. 26. Whyte participated in a Paktika Government budget seminar. Paktika line directors and sub-governors attended the seminar to review the budget process for future projects. (Photo by U.S. Air Force Senior Airman Ashley N. Avecilla, Paktika Provincial Reconstruction Team Public Affairs)



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Bastogne Soldiers help link locals, government


KUNAR PROVINCE, Afghanistan –Afghanistan National Security Forces and U.S. Army soldiers of the 1st Squadron, 32nd Cavalry Regiment, alongside other members of the 1st Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division, began a series of joint operations in the Ghazibad District of the Kunar Province Feb. 16.

Drug lab discovered in Nangarhar, material destroyed

NANGARHAR PROVINCE, Afghanistan – U.S. Soldiers assigned to Troop C, 1st Squadron, 61st Cavalry Regiment, attached to 1st Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division, conducted a search with Afghan National Security Forces in Loya Torma Village in Sherzad District Feb. 5.

ANSF, TF Bastogne begin operations in Shawan Ghar Valley

NANGARHAR PROVINCE, Afghanistan – Afghan National Security Forces partnered with the Soldiers assigned to 1st Brigade Combat Team, Task Force Bastogne, 101st Airborne Division, to begin operations in the Shawan Ghar Valley of the Lal Por District Feb. 3.


Weapons cache found, destroyed in Laghman

LAGHMAN PROVINCE, Afghanistan – A weapons cache consisting of more than 100 anti-personnel mines was found by coalition forces on patrol near the village of Jugi, Mehtar Lam District, Laghman Province Jan. 27. An explosive ordnance disposal team was deployed to the scene and destroyed the cache in place.

The security and safety of Afghan civilians is an important part of every coalition operation. All weapons caches found during these operations are destroyed to ensure they do not harm civilians or military personnel.

“Mines are indiscriminate killers. They don’t distinguish between Soldiers or civilians, between men, women or children. We must all work together to eliminate the threat posed by these deadly weapons,” said U.S. Army Col. Ben Corell, commander of the 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 34th Infantry Division, Task Force Red Bulls.

If you see any suspicious activity or know of a weapons cache in your area, please report it. Call the Operations Coordination Center Provincial Tip Line at 079-662-0193 or at 079-397-0975.