PAKTYA PROVINCE, Afghanistan - Twice in three days Afghan National Security Forces alongside Soldiers from the 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division conducted shuras and delivered humanitarian aid at a Paktya high school.
The first event took place April 13 when members of the 3rd Special Troops Battalion accompanied by Afghan Border Police and Afghan National Police went to Road-e-Ahmad High School in Qadar Khail village to conduct a shura with students, teachers and other villagers.
The shura was held for the purpose of gaining support for the government of Afghanistan and recruiting for ANSF, said U.S. Army Maj. Mike Peeler, 3rd STB operations officer.
Following the shura, ANSF personnel distributed humanitarian aid supplies including food, radios, soccer balls, hygiene kits, writing kits, clothing, shoes and toys.
"ABP and ANP (personnel) took the lead in all aspects in front of the villagers and students," said U.S. Army Lt. Col. Paul Sarat, 3rd STB commander. "We appeared as observers only. This seems to be the way ahead."
According to Peeler, 3rd STB personnel had believed the school was male only. Upon arrival, they learned the school had 50 female students.
While the battalion was able to distribute generic supplies to the girls, there was nothing "female specific" for them.
To rectify the oversight, ANSF and 3rd STB conducted a second event at the school, April 15.
This event, which included female Soldiers from the 3rd BCT Provost Marshal and Engineer sections, was held for the female students of the school, Sarat said.
According to Peeler, Ahmad Abad district officials sent between 50 and 75 girls from other schools to participate.
While 3rd BCT personnel appeared only as observers during the first event, , the second time around they were invited to participate, Peeler said.
At the end of the event, students presented veils to four female Soldiers and sang the Afghan National Anthem.
"The entire event was truly inspirational with all the girls interacting with the female Soldiers," said 3rd BCT Provost Marshal, U.S. Army Capt. Jill Glasenapp, who was one of the four to be presented with a veil. "It was amazing seeing all the smiles, colors (of the veils) and true happiness."
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