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Document Zabul ADT Friends and Partners January 16th, 2012

Dear Friends and Partners,

Zabul Province, Afghanistan eric.ahlness@afghan.swa.army.mil 20 W. 12th St. on Twitter @ZabulADT St. Paul, MN 55124 T 612.812.3070 eric.ahlness@us.army.mil

We wish everyone a meaningful Dr. Martin Luther King Day! Obviously, we would rather be celebrating this important day of remembrance with all of you. Personally, I will miss the annual event at the Minneapolis Convention Center. I firmly believe that diversity of opinion, heritage, and background makes our team and our communities back home stronger. In our engagements with Afghan citizens we are often able to quickly identify solutions to their problems, however a key stumbling block is the sustainability and cultural acceptability of the those solutions. Accordingly, a key facet of our mission is to gain a deeper understanding of the Afghan people and what solutions they will continue after we leave. To this end, we’ve completed the deployment of two teams to the north and south ends of Zabul Province. Those teams are embedding in local bases where they work with our partners to increase the effectiveness of governance and security in their districts.

1LT Tara Robertson and a Romanian Soldier during a Female Engagement Team (FET) mission in Shah Joy District.

The key partners include other US armed forces, the Romanian Army, and civilian partners from the Department of State, USAID, and the USDA. It is critical that we work with civilians to help in the eventual transition from a military lead effort to one where civilians aid the Afghan government in achieving their goals for a stable nation. All the efforts by the coalition rely on Afghans stepping forward to take leadership and technical positions at the provincial and district levels to implement governance in this rural and very traditional province. Making our force more geographically diverse helps us build deeper, more enduring relationships with local officials aiding us in making a more substantial impact in the limited time we will spend in Afghanistan. It is also a much safer way to operate as we limit the amount of time that we are traveling on the roads or flying to conduct missions. Although the teams have only been on the ground for a short time, they are already meeting with local officials and assessing the needs of local villages to help us focus training and resources for the upcoming planting season.

COL Eric Ahlness with USAID and the Mayor of Qalat at a Slaughterhouse planning meeting.

We are continuing to develop our spring plan to support the efforts of the DAIL, as well as weekly agricultural and veterinary seminars and inoculation events. During the last week our veterinary team joined the DAIL in inoculating over 800 head of livestock in Mizan District. The DAIL veterinarian along with the local para-vet performed the majority of the work, indicating our goal of making them self sufficient is taking hold. The inoculation program itself has been one of our great successes and we view it as a sustainable and important program that greatly benefits local farmers and herders. In a related effort, we achieved a great victory this last week on the selection of a site for the Qalat slaughterhouse. Currently, livestock is sold along the walls of Alexander the


«Organization»

Zabul Province, Afghanistan eric.ahlness@afghan.swa.army.mil @ZabulADT on Twitter

20 W. 12th St. St. Paul, MN 55124 T 612.812.3070 eric.ahlness@us.army.mil

SFC Tony Hunter participates in a veterinary seminar in Mizan Province.

Great’s castle, and butchered nearby. This practice is not suitable for the center of the provincial capital and presents numerous public health issues. The initial plan was to place it in a location that would have enriched some government officials, but not been of much use to the populace. In partnership with our civilian allies, we engaged the local butcher union to help select an appropriate location that also provided room for a stockyard, which will be essential to the long-term viability and success of the project. We have a ways to go on this effort, but it is certainly on track to vastly improve the local livestock industry and overall health standards of the meat for this regional market. Finally, we had one serious but non-life threatening injury that will require us to bid farewell to a member of our team. Sergeant Andrew Stockman injured his hand while unloading a truck. While he’s ok, the injury is severe enough that it requires treatment and rehabilitation in the US. As such, he will not be able to rejoin the team. SGT Stockman is an excellent Soldier and an emerging junior leader. We will miss him during the rest of the deployment and pray for his rapid and complete recovery. From Afghanistan, we all wish you a happy New Year and a great Dr. Martin Luther King Day.

Eric D. Ahlness Colonel, Infantry Zabul Agricultural Development Team Commanding


Friends and Partners Letter 8