KY Guardsmen growing hope, Fox 41 in Afghanistan - WDRB 41 Louisville News

KY Guardsmen growing hope, Fox 41 in Afghanistan


It's been nine years and US troops are still on the ground in Afghanistan.

The Kentucky National Guard's Agribusiness Development Team seems to have found a certain strategy.

Fox 41's Lindsay Allen is with the unit as the Guardsmen teach the Afghan people how to grow their own crops.

They are hungry and they are poor.  Look into the eyes of the children and no words are even needed to know their struggles.  A year ago the future for the children in the village of Shirizar looked bleak.

"Just barren, completely barren there was nothing here at all."But now new hope is growing alongside watermelon and tomato plants," said Major Jim Rush.

Rush and Kentucky's Ag team 1 has been working in Shirizar for the past 10 months.  The soil is dry and cracked, but nutrient rich.

The guardsmen planted a research farm while teaching the villagers modern techniques.

"All of the food that comes out of here is gong to be shared between the local farmers here they'll be able to take and the folks that work on it will be able to take and then the excess stuff is going to be sold into the local markets.  Farid Tahier is the Afghan supervisor of the farm," Rush said.

"He says the people in Shirizar are very happy because for so long they have lived without water and without irrigation.He says they're grateful to be working with the ADT and not someone else," an interpreter told Allen of the Shirizar Farm supervisor.


"This mountain chain that surrounds us is where the Taliban brings weapons and personal down from the north all the way into Kabul this plain runs into Kabul city," Major Rush said.

Because roadside bombs are still a major threat they always ride out to missions in MRAPS which could sustain a blast and they always wear full body armor.  The Ag team has never been hit, but so many other units are dodging IED's daily. 

 Many guardsmen say its more than just luck.  They credit the lack of violence to the nature of their missions.

"We've got 20 varieties of melons growing about 10 varieties of different types of tomatoes.  Feeding the people, and giving them jobs is a strategy that seems to be going a long way," Rush said.

Lindsay Allen and Photographer Kenny Bradley will be in Afghanistan for a couple more weeks.  Allen will have more stories from the Ag team in the coming days.


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