2 Jul 2007

PR# 2007-497

Ghazni shura paves way ahead in village

FORWARD OPERATING BASE SALERNO, Afghanistan — Officials from Ghazni Provincial Reconstruction Team and the Afghan National Army held a shura to discuss the concerns local tribal elders have about the eventual withdrawal of military forces which came into the area with Operation Maiwand.

“We will stand with our government’s support to make a strong wall against the Taliban, but we know this will take work to be successful,” the head elder said.

“We’re just farmers who want to live our lives in peace,” said one village elder, when addressing security forces at the Shura.  “We have no weapons to defend ourselves if the Taliban come back.  What are we to do when all of you leave this area again?”

The Afghan National Security Forces and ISAF officials discussed with the villagers new provincial plans for more police stations and patrols in the area.  They also talked about the need for better cooperation and talks with district government leaders.

“Today we broke the ground,” said Lt. Col. David Woods, to the local leaders.  “You’ve sown the seeds of unity, which in turn you and your government are going to plant.  (Woods is commander of the 4th Squadron, 73rd Cavalry Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division.)

Operation Maiwand was an ANA-led operation to clear Taliban extremists from Andar district, Ghazni province. 

Despite Taliban extremist threats, approximately 70 men attended the June 25 shura to discuss their future.

Prior to Operation Maiwand, Taliban extremists snuck into the villages at night, according to Woods.  They told villagers not to attend shuras or medical outreaches, and not to send their children to school or take part in any government-sponsored events.  If they did, they were told their families were in danger of terrorist tactics, Woods added.

To defeat the Taliban extremists the villagers must unify, Woods told the elders.

Contact Information ISAF Public Affairs Office
Tel: +93 (0)799 51 1155 - Mobile: 0093 (0) 799 55 8291 pressoffice@hq.isaf.nato.int - www.nato.int/isaf/