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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PAKTIKA PROVINCE, Afghanistan – Shafikah, a 6th grade student at Abu Herera Primary School, reads aloud to her classmates April 13. The school has been operating since 2002 and continues to progress despite security threats. Paktika Provincial Reconstruction Team works closely with the provincial government to improve education throughout the province. (Photo by U.S. Air Force 1st Lt. Emily Chilson, Paktika Provincial Reconstruction Team Public Affairs)PAKTIKA PROVINCE, Afghanistan – Paktika Provincial Reconstruction Team visited Abu Herera Primary School in Urgun District to meet with school officials and students April 13.


While schools throughout Afghanistan have been reopened or are opening for the first time following years of instability, there are some schools, like Abu Herera, which have stood the tests of time, threats and war.

According to Fasil Muhammed, the principal, the school opened its doors in 2002 and has educated Afghan children ever since. There have been challenges, like receiving only half of their allotted text books this year, but school remains in session.

Although the shortage of text books is an issue, Mohammad Aziz, Urgun deputy director of education, explained it is actually an improvement from the previous year when they didn’t receive any text books at all.

At the heart of success for Abu Herrera, are the dedicated teachers who said they sincerely enjoy what they do. Mohammad Sadiq, a teacher who specializes in religion, completed his education through grade 12 in Mazar-e Sharif, the capital city of Balkh Province in northern Afghanistan. He then went on to complete what Afghans call the 13th year, which is similar to one year of college.

“I like to teach,” Sadiq said. “People are actually keeping the security and that allows the children to come to school.  Also, the government is helping and sending a lot of supplies.”

Security is one of the challenges faced by the school throughout the past nine years, the principal noted. Once, he said, they showed up for school only to find all the windows broken. Muhammed said security is steadily improving.
In recent radio call-in programs with Brig. Gen. Dawlet Khan, Paktika’s Afghan Uniformed Police chief, callers relayed positive responses regarding security in the province.

According to Khan’s radio interview, more than 200 police recently graduated from training, and they already have more than 150 new recruits. While security may be on the rise, school officials named other obstacles to better education.

Muhammed said the lack of teachers, especially females, is another issue affecting education at Abu Herera.

“That’s our culture,” Muhammed explained. “We don’t send our older daughters to school because there are only male teachers.”

Several of the school officials expressed a desire to open a high school. Ultimately, they said it depends on financial support and teachers.

“I have lots of graduated students, but unfortunately they’re all at home now because they completed 6th grade,” Sadiq explained. “After 6th grade, they stay home and work to support their families.

Sadiq said with so many children, both boys and girls, only educated through grade 6, there is no educational process in place to develop the future teachers of Paktika.

From an outsider’s perspective, the education system in Paktika still has a long way to go. U.S. Army Capt. Mike Butler, Paktika Provincial Reconstruction Team civil affairs team chief in Urgun who calls Chicago home, the ministry of education is only in the beginning stages of sustaining education.

“In the past several years, a lot of education infrastructure has been built but the MoE has never had a plan to sustain their assets,” he explained.

“PRT Paktika has been mentoring education officials to inventory MoE assets and develop budgets for operations and maintenance.”

Short-term plans to improve education include establishing two middle schools for girls. Through advisory roles, the PRT will continue to work alongside the Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan at the provincial level to enhance education for the young people of Paktika, Butler said.PAKTIKA PROVINCE, Afghanistan – Ras Mohammad, an Abu Herera Primary School teacher (right), and one of his students, discuss the school’s progress April 13. While many schools throughout Afghanistan are reopening or opening for the first time following years of conflict, Abu Herera has been operating since 2002. Paktika Provincial Reconstruction Team visits schools in Urgun District on a regular basis to discuss progress with school and government officials. (Photo by U.S. Air Force 1st Lt. Emily Chilson, Paktika Provincial Reconstruction Team Public Affairs) -30-PAKTIKA PROVINCE, Afghanistan – A local construction worker builds a security wall around Abu Herera Primary School April 13. Funding and construction for the wall is provided by the ministry of education in coordination with surrounding villages. Abu Herera, opened in 2002, has been vandalized, and school officials and students have faced threats. Regardless, the school has been operating consistently for the past nine years. Paktika Provincial Reconstruction Team works alongside the Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan at the provincial level to support reconstruction efforts in Paktika. (Photo by U.S. Air Force 1st Lt. Emily Chilson, Paktika Provincial Reconstruction Team Public Affairs)PAKTIKA PROVINCE, Afghanistan – Students at Ali Haydar Primary School in Urgun District read from Afghan storybooks April 14. Both boys and girls attend elementary school together, but are separated after grade 6. The district’s deputy director of education is working with the ministry of education and Paktika Provincial Reconstruction Team to establish two middle schools for girls in Urgun. The PRT supports reconstruction and governance in Paktika to improve education, health and security. (Photo by U.S. Army Capt. Mike Butler, Paktika Provincial Reconstruction Team Civil Affairs)PAKTIKA PROVINCE, Afghanistan – Students attend class at Ali Haydar Primary School in Urgun District April 14. Paktika Provincial Reconstruction Team visits schools on a regular basis to meet with school officials and discuss education concerns. The district’s deputy director of education is working through his ministry in Kabul to provide more teachers and school supplies for the students of Urgun. (Photo by U.S. Army Capt. Mike Butler, Paktika Provincial Reconstruction Team Civil Affairs)

Last Updated on Monday, 18 April 2011 01:05


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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.