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. Army Soldiers from Company D, 1st Battalion, 133rd Infantry Regiment, Task Force Ironman, a part of the 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 34th Infantry Division, Task Force Red Bulls, cross a bridge with a group of Afghan school children from the village of Marshala Kamar, here April 13. The Soldiers delivered school supplies and building materials to the people of the village. (Photo by U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Ryan C. Matson, Task Force Red Bulls Public Affairs)LAGHMAN PROVINCE, Afghanistan – In what members of 2nd Platoon, Company D, 1st Battalion, 133rd Infantry Regiment, Task Force Ironman, said has been a long, ongoing process, the platoon is one step closer to building a relationship with the nearby village of Marshala Kamar by delivering supplies, April 13.

U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Chris Brenke, the 2nd Plt., 133rd Inf. a part the 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 34th Infantry Division, platoon sergeant, from East Dubuque, Ill. isited the village.

 “I saw that while the condition of the school was good, they were lacking in school supplies,” he said.

The people of the village told him the Afghan government had difficulty providing the school with supplies. So Brenke decided to see what he could do to help. He spoke with his sister-in-law, Nici Hilby, a teacher at the Eleanor Roosevelt School in Dubuque, Iowa, and told her about the school.

Hilby arranged a drive for supplies. People brought extra school supplies during parent-teacher conferences, and in a short period of time, Hilby gathered 20 boxes of supplies.  Brenke gave the first two to the Marshala Kamar School principal, Mohammed Umar.

Umar said the supplies will be put to good use.

”These supplies will help our children to become educated,” Umar said.

U.S. Army Lt. Garion Ford, 2nd Plt. leader, was impressed with how much the kids have learned at the school with the limited resources they had.

“I was visiting the school, and one of the kids started spouting some English,” said Ford, a Knoxville, Tenn., native. “They know English, which means they know it in Pashto as well. They know basic math, because when I first got into the school, I was asking a kid some basic division questions because he knew English really well. He was answering them all in English correctly. It’s a testament to Principal Umar.”

Ford explained how much the supplies really do help the children.

“Anything helps,” said Ford. “I mean, they don’t have paper and pens. They have one chalkboard, and they’re teaching 300 kids of all grades that way. They all ask for pens, because that is the sign of an educated person here now, so they all want one, it’s a thing of pride to have a pen.”

“Over here you give a kid a notebook and a pen, and it’s Christmas,” Brenke added.

The platoon didn’t stop with the school supplies. They noticed some of the beams on the village’s bridge were becoming worn and needed to be replaced. So 2nd Plt. scoured their supply yard, getting a few pieces of lumber they had on hand that had not been used for any projects, and delivered it to the villagers.

“We will use the plywood and lumber to fix our bridge,” said Haji Jibar, a village elder. “We want to help these Americans to bring security and peace to our village, because they have come to help rebuild our village and serve our people.”

The village, which lies along the banks of the Kabul River, one of the main rivers in Afghanistan, claims about 500 residents. The villagers told 2nd Plt. it had not been visited by coalition forces for more than two years.

Ford said it was initially a challenge to build a rapport with the village.

“The first time we went in there, the females literally ran away scared,” said Ford. “Most of the people had never seen an American, besides driving by in up-armoured vehicles.”

Ford admitted while the platoon strives to maintain a good relationship with all of the villages in their area of operations, Marshala Kamar was of particular interest to the platoon.

“They were in a gray area, the town could have gone either way,” Ford said. “They are a waypoint between the Bad Pakh area and the Dergy Valley. The bridge in their town is one of only two in the province you can cross the river on. It’s a very important village strategically to have on our side.”

The platoon, who arrived in country late October, visited Marshala Kamar seven times now.

Brenke thinks the platoon is slowly and steadily building what they consider to be a good relationship with the town.LAGHMAN PROVINCE, Afghanistan - U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Peter Harder (left), a forward observer from Huxley, Iowa, and U.S. Army Pfc. Nicolas Howe, an infantry Soldier from Waukon, Iowa, both with 2nd Platoon, Company D, 1st Battalion, 133rd Infantry Regiment, Task Force Ironman, a part of the 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 34th Infantry Division, Task Force Red Bulls, unload lumber from a mine-resistant ambush protected vehicle April 13 in the village of Marshala Kamar. The lumber was used to repair a major bridge in the village. (Photo by U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Ryan C. Matson, Task Force Red Bulls Public Affairs)LAGHMAN PROVINCE, Afghanistan - Two Afghan boys carry a sheet of plywood delivered by Company D, 1st Battalion, 133rd Infantry Regiment, Task Force Ironman, a part of the 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 34th Infantry Division, Task Force Red Bulls, to aid in the repair of their village's bridge April 13 in Marshala Kamar. (Photo by U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Ryan C. Matson, Task Force Red Bulls Public Affairs)


Last Updated on Tuesday, 19 April 2011 00:59


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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.