Babylon & Beyond

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AFGHANISTAN: U.S. brings roads, cows and chickens to the Panjshir Valley

April 6, 2009 |  1:04 pm


The Panjshir Valley, 120 miles north of Kabul, figures big in the modern history of Afghanistan. It was from this lush valley that the guerrilla movement that chased the Russians from Afghanistan was centered.

The U.S. is making major efforts to win over the villagers, who are notoriously suspicious of outsiders. New roads will cut down on isolation, radios will allow news from the central government in Kabul to filter in.

Mini-loans allow for the purchase of cows. Farmers are being taught drip irrigation and row cropping to increase the yield from fruit trees and wheat fields.

Each woman is eligible for 12 chickens to produce eggs to be sold at market.

"We work within the local government to teach self-sufficiency; we are not going to be here forever," Army Lt. Col. Steve Lancaster told American Forces Press Service.

-- Tony Perry, San Diego

Photo: Villagers and U.S. soldier in Panshir Valley. Credit: U.S. Air Force