Babylon & Beyond

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AFGHANISTAN: National Guard troops talk farmer to farmer

March 12, 2009 |  1:24 pm


The headlines about the U.S. buildup in Afghanistan emphasize more combat troops to chase the Taliban and more trainers to help the Afghan security forces shape up.

All true enough, but the U.S. is also sending National Guard troops from farm states to help Afghan farmers.

Take the 28th Forward Agribusiness Development Team, which includes National Guard troops from Nebraska — many of them farmers in civilian life.

Troops are working with Afghan farmers on issues like crop rotation, water management, tractor maintenance, livestock health and grain storage.

It's not a quick proposition. "We are doing one field at a time," said 1st Lt. Eric Sattelberg.

— Tony Perry in San Diego

Photo: Army 1st Sgt. Eldon Kuntzelman talks to farm kids in Janquadam, Afghanistan. Credit: U.S. Army