By U.S. Air Force 2nd Lt. Natassia Cherne
Nuristan Provincial Reconstruction Team Public Affairs
NURISTAN PROVINCE, Afghanistan – Servicemembers from the Nuristan Provincial Reconstruction Team travelled a rugged, mountainous region near Forward Operating Base Kalagush to make their first contact with the remote ville of Kohe Taag, Dec. 19.
Kohe Tagg village is one of Kalagush’s closest and hardest to reach neighbors. This was the first time that the Nuristan PRT had ever visited the village, and only the second time the village had ever been visited by Coalition Forces.
Although the village was only 2 kilometres away, it took the Nuristan PRT two and half hours to climb over the rocky terrain and washes to get to the village.
While in the village, the Nuristan PRT met with Abdual Wahab, a villager closest to what many other villages would consider an elder or Malik. The civil affairs team was able to gather atmospherics on what their political views are, what their economy was like, and what they thought of Afghan National Security Forces and Coalition Forces.
U.S. Army Spc. Jason Dixon, a civil affairs specialist and native of Payson, Utah, explained the interaction between the PRT and the villagers.
“The village was small and the villagers were very opinionated,” he said. “They talked to us about corruption and politics even though the Afghan National Police were there, which is rare, because other villages would never be as honest as they were in front of the ANP.”
Even though Wahab and others had very strong opinions about the government, they were also the first villagers to say they are very proud of their Afghan security forces.
Mohammad Dadd, another villager, explained that they have seen ANP around the village, helping protect their way of life, and still doing their jobs even when they have to go without pay.
After much discussion about the role that the Coalition Forces play, U.S. Navy Cmdr. Russell McCormack, the commander for the Nuristan PRT and native of Hampstead, N.H., asked Wahab what the village needed.
Wahab said the village needed water storage and a clear footpath to get to other villages. As it stands now, it takes the villagers four hours, round-trip, to get to and from Nengarch, which is the nearest village.
The Nuristan PRT agreed to help build a water storage system and possibly create a clear pathway if a few villagers agreed to go to the concert class that the engineers on FOB Kalagush hold to teach locals vocational skills.
After attending a few classes, the villagers can get up to 50 bags of cement for their village. Once the village gets the cement, the Nuristan PRT will cover the rest of the cost for the water storage and possible footpath.
NURISTAN PROVINCE, Afghanistan- A young boy looks on as servicemembers from the Nuristan Provincial Reconstruction Team speak with villagers in the Kohe Tagg village, Dec. 19. The Nuristan PRT traversed a rugged region near Forward Operating Base Kalagush to make its first contact with the remote village. (U.S. Air Force photo/2nd Lt. Natassia Cherne)
NURISTAN PROVINCE, Afghanistan – Tauseef Mastafa, a photojournalist with the Agence-France Presse, embedded with the Nuristan Provincial Reconstruction Team takes a photo of U.S. Navy Petty Officer 2nd Class Jason Chappell, a corpsman from Bonne Terre, Mo., Dec. 19. The Nuristan PRT traversed a rugged region near Forward Operating Base Kalagush to make its first contact with the remote village Kohe Taag. (U.S. Air Force photo/2nd Lt. Natassia Cherne)