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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LAGHMAN PROVINCE, Afghanistan - U.S. Air Force 1st Lt. Brittany Martin, right, a public affairs officer from Katy, Texas, with the Laghman Provincial Reconstruction Team working with 1st Battalion, 133rd Infantry Regiment, Task Force Ironman, part of the 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 34th Infantry Division, presents a certificate to an Afghan Journalism Seminar participant at the Information, Culture and Youth Center in Mehtar Lam Feb. 23. (Photo by U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Ryan C. Matson, Task Force Red Bulls Public Affairs)LAGHMAN PROVINCE, Afghanistan – If you asked U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Greg Zuercher back in 1984 what he’d be doing today, he probably would have never guessed he’d be in Afghanistan giving tips on news-writing to Afghan journalists.

But that’s exactly what the military journalist with the Kansas Agribusiness Development Team was doing Feb. 23 at the first Laghman Province Afghan Journalism Seminar in Mehtar Lam. Zuercher, who graduated with a degree in journalism from Kansas State University in 1984, taught a news-writing segment of the two-day professional development seminar.

“I tried to show the journalists how they can use a short sentence to draw the reader into the story and then present the facts,” said Zuercher of Wichita, Kansas. “I told them that their initial sentence needs to be a grabber; it needs to grab the reader and encourage them to read on.”

Zuercher was one of the military journalists who shared their knowledge and tips with their Afghan counterparts during the seminar. About 40 local Afghan journalists, including eight women, attended the seminar. The training was organized by U.S. Air Force 1st Lt. Brittany Martin, a public affairs officer with the Laghman Provincial Reconstruction Team, and a native of Katy, Texas. Both Zuercher and Martin are serving with 1st Battalion, 133rd Infantry Regiment Task, Force Ironman, part of 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 34th Infantry Division, Task Force Red Bulls.

“The Director of Information, Culture and Youth, Fazzinullah Patan, has been proactive in increasing the capability of Laghman’s media,” Martin said. “We are excited that he allowed us to work with his department to conduct this training, and we look forward to holding follow-on sessions to continue to improve the skills of the local journalists.”

On the first day of the seminar, Feb. 22, Mahtab Farid, a native of Santa Monica, Calif., and U.S. State Department public diplomacy officer who has worked as a journalist in the U.S., discussed the elements of writing a solid lead, or introduction, to a news story. She also stressed that the most important factor in any story is to present the truth with confirmed facts from reliable sources.

Zuercher built on this training the second day, and also featured tips on photography from other Ironman journalists. The journalists then separated into working groups in which the Afghan journalists sat down with American military journalists from Task Force Ironman to discuss the leads they had written. During the working group, the Afghans and Americans worked together to formulate questions for the seminar’s grand finale, an actual press conference by Laghman Province Director of Forestry, Haji Auhe. When the TF Ironman journalists were originally drafting out the seminar, they planned on hosting mock scenarios, but Zuercher thought of a better idea.

“I suggested instead of picking a fictitious story to hold a press conference on, that we chose something that’s a real ongoing event,” Zuercher said. “I thought of the reforestation program that the Kansas Agribusiness Development Team is hosting, and it turned out to be a good story, and something that we could bring a subject matter expert in to speak on.”

That subject matter expert was Auhe, who spoke at length about the reforestation project, which has brought 35,000 new trees to the province already and will bring about 125,000 by its completion. The journalists asked questions on all aspects of the project, from who will care for the new trees, to how long the trees will produce fruit.

Atiquallah Qurashi, a writer for a Laghman Province weekly magazine, was one of the journalists who attended the seminar.

“We learned to report the facts of our story in a concise manner,” Qurashi said. “The instructors showed us how to shorten our reports and still get all the facts in. The best part of the seminar for me was that the Americans did not talk to us like students; they talked to us like friends. I will use the things I learned in this seminar every single day on the job.”


LAGHMAN PROVINCE, Afghanistan - U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Greg Zuercher of Wichita, Kansas, a Kansas Agribusiness Development Team military journalist working with 1st Battalion, 133rd Infantry Regiment, Task Force Ironman, part of 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 34th Infantry Division, Task Force Red Bulls, talks to an Afghan journalist from the Laghman Province during the Afghan Journalism Seminar at the Information, Culture and Youth Center in Mehtar Lam Feb. 23. (Photo by U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Ryan C. Matson, Task Force Red Bulls Public Affairs)LAGHMAN PROVINCE, Afghanistan – Mahtab Farid, a native of Santa Monica, Calif., and a U.S. State Department public diplomacy officer who has worked as a journalist in the U.S., discusses the fundamentals of writing a solid news lead with Afghan journalists during the first day of the two-day Afghan Journalism Seminar at the Information, Culture and Youth center in Mehtar Lam Feb. 22. (Photo by U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Ryan C. Matson, Task Force Red Bulls Public Affairs)


Last Updated on Friday, 25 February 2011 17:29


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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.