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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KUNAR PROVINCE, Afghanistan – Women from the Kunar Provincial Reconstruction Team and Iowa National Guard’s 734th Agribusiness Development Team gather alongside Afghan women to celebrate International Women’s Day at the Ministry of Culture and Information March 8. More than 100 Afghan women from the surrounding areas attended the event. (Photo by U.S. Air Force 1st Lt. Nicholas Mercurio, Kunar Provincial Reconstruction Team Public Affairs)KUNAR PROVINCE, Afghanistan – One after the other, women flowed into the shura hall at the Kunar Ministry of Culture and Information, their henna-dyed feet scurrying beneath shapeless blue shrouds; a sea of burqas arrayed in silent contrast to the celebration of women’s rights they had come to attend.

Despite Kunar’s fiercely traditional Pashtun cultural landscape, more than 100 women gathered alongside female representatives from the Kunar Provincial Reconstruction Team and the Iowa National Guard’s 734th Agribusiness Development Team as Afghanistan joined 79 other countries across the world in holding events supporting the centennial of International Women’s Day March 8.

However, the celebration was bittersweet for the women of Kunar who, despite progress, still face many challenges.  

“Today is a special day for women,” said Nasima Sadat, Kunar director of women’s affairs, in an interview after the event. “To tell you the truth, it is a good day but it is also a day for concern. It is a good day because so many women were able to gather here and celebrate International Women’s Day. I’m concerned because we still haven’t gotten to the point where we have the rights that our religion has given to women and, as a result, we can’t work outside our homes in our own society without fear.

“I think we need a lot of time to improve,” Sadat continued. “Our females lack education – they can’t tell what’s good or bad for them – they always follow the rules laid down by men.”

“Knowledge is like oxygen for a society,” said Mohammad Shoaib, Kunar chief prosecutor, during his remarks at the gathering. “Allah created men and women equally and, in Afghanistan, men and women live equally under the law. It is our responsibility to educate the people on the law so that our Afghan sisters can enjoy the rights promised to them.”

In what is largely viewed as an act of courage, the women of Kunar have been laboring beneath their burqas and behind closed doors to carve out progress from the bedrock of Pashtunwali which supports the current status quo. There were, in fact, many achievements to celebrate in Kunar Province this International Women’s Day.

“There are three women serving as members of the Provincial Development Council, representing the needs of the people regardless of gender, age or tribe,” said U.S. Army Spc. Shannon Drinken of Barron, Wis., Kunar PRT civil affairs specialist and female engagement team member. “Women are attending school in record numbers; more than 50 young women graduated from Fatima High School this past December with many electing to continue their education... Women in Kunar serve as doctors, nurses, teachers and government officials. Each day progress is being made.”

“It’s a beginning,” said U.S. Army Sgt. 1st Class Melissa S. Brumley of Stuart, Iowa, 734th ADT human resources noncommissioned officer in charge and FET member.  

Each government official who spoke emphasized the importance of education, she said. “It’s a step forward for the women of Afghanistan,” Brumley added.

“Today is a day for restoring hope,” Drinken said. “(A day) to make sure that children no longer have to accept that some dreams are out of reach... (a day) for a brighter future for all Afghanistan.”


KUNAR PROVINCE, Afghanistan – U.S. Army Spc. Shannon Drinken (left) of Barron, Wis., Kunar Provincial Reconstruction Team civil affairs specialist, gives a speech at the Kunar International Women’s Day celebration March 8. She told the women gathered at the Ministry of Culture and Information the history of International Women’s Day and recounted the many success stories of women in Kunar Province. (Photo by U.S. Air Force 1st Lt. Nicholas Mercurio, Kunar Provincial Reconstruction Team Public Affairs)


Last Updated on Friday, 11 March 2011 18:29


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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.