Magazine article Soldiers Magazine

Winning Hearts and Minds

Magazine article Soldiers Magazine

Winning Hearts and Minds

Article excerpt

Civil-affairs soldiers throughout Afghanistan are working hard through various community projects to win the trust of the Afghan people.

Winning hearts and minds is their mission, and over the course of seven months soldiers of Team A, 403rd Civil Affairs Battalion, at Asadabad Fire Base have completed several projects that support that goal. These projects have included distribution of humanitarian-aid items, digging a well at a boys school, laying an irrigation pipeline, covering the rock and mortar walls at a girls school with concrete, putting in latrines for the same school, plus many other projects.

Although CA soldiers assist the Afghans in getting projects started, the work is done by Afghans. They are empowered by CA through funding and supplies.

"They've done a nice job," said MAJ Timothy Connors, officer in charge of Team A. "We're real happy with them, but the big thing is whether they're happy, and 1 think they are," Connors said.

Once a project is started, the soldiers check back every week to assess the progress. The Caramal Girls School in Asadabad is one place where they have focused. They've replaced all the windows, put down carpeting and had the school painted.

"It's good to just check on the work and make sure the principal is happy," Connors said. "And they're really happy with the improvements."

Several schools in the area surrounding Asadabad have benefited from CA assistance.

"We've done a lot of projects like Caramal, where they have buildings but they need some work," Connor said. …

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