Booster Shots

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Hearts, minds and teeth in Afghanistan

April 16, 2009 | 12:16 pm


The U.S. military is hoping to win hearts and minds among villagers in Afghanistan by pulling their rotten teeth.

A task force in the Shindand district of the Herat province reports pulling more than 180 teeth. Toothpaste and toothbrushes were handed out -- a rarity in Afghanistan.

The Army reports one of the first patients to volunteer was Arbov Zacharia, a village elder. A U.S. dentist said that afterward Zacharia kept pointing to the extraction site and giving the thumbs-up sign.

"It's nice to know your work is appreciated," the dentist told the American Forces Press Service.

-- Tony Perry

Photo: An Afghan village elder getting decayed tooth pulled.  Credit: U.S. Army