Thursday, July 10, 2008

Verbatim: Afghan "'terps"

There are many stories from both Afghanistan and Iraq that the msm will never share. In Afghanistan - as elsewhere - brave locals work with our troops, often as interpreters. As elsewhere, these 'terps risk their lives daily because they are invested in their families' futures. What follows is in the Afghans' own words. It was sent to me via a US Major, who wants these voices to be heard; so do I. This IS the Afghan 'terps: VERBATIM. Read on:

US ETTs, Afghan Interpreters and Afghan Army working as one team in the reconstruction of Afghanistan.

It has been long time that we (E.T.Ts Terps) are thinking of writing an article about the things happening in Afghanistan. We were looking for a newspaper in the USA in which we could publish our article, but we didn’t have any contact with the newspapers in the USA and as a result we couldn’t publish our article.

We wanted to tell the people living out side Afghanistan that what is happening in our beloved country. We wanted to tell the people of our joint efforts made by the Embedded Training Team (E.T.Ts), Afghan National Army(ANA) and the Terps (Linguists). When speaking about Afghanistan, we know the first thing the people
think is fighting, killing, suicide attacks and destruction and explosion of our educational institutions like Schools, Colleges or Universities. The fact is that there also good things happening in our country. We decided to tell the people living out side Afghanistan that what are the good things happening in
Afghanistan and how it is happening.

The first thing that we want to speak is about the E.T.Ts working for the 2nd Battalion of the 2nd Brigade of 203rd Thunder Corps. This 203rd Thunder Corps is responsible for the South East part of Afghanistan. The 2nd Battalion is located in **** District of Paktika province. This South East part of Afghanistan consistsof four strategic provinces like Paktia, Khost, Ghazni and Paktika. These are mountainous provinces. Khost and Paktika border Waziristan. Waziristan is located on the other side of the Durand Line(temporary border between Afghanistan and Pakistan. Durand was the foreign Minister of British India in 1893 and he drew this line for 100 years with the Afghan king Amir Abd-u-Rehman.) Waziristan is Tribal area and Pakistan recognizes it as the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA). The people living in this region (Waziristan and Bermel District of Paktika province) are Wazir Pashtuns. These people are living a very hard life, the average age of Afghans is 47.

These people had never seen the rule of law, Police, Army or other political institutions. 61 years ago the British forces existed on the other side of Durand line but the people living on this side of the border had never seen the rule of law. Actually the government didn’t exist in here, even in 1980s the Soviet forces didn’t come here. The Soviets came to Orgun District but they stopped there and didn’t move further to this region. These people are patriots and good defenders of the country. They have always fought for freedom and independence of Afghanistan. These Wazir People bravely fought in 3rd Englo-Afghan war in 1919. These people also bravely fought in 1924 for the country and for the support of king Ghazi Amanullah. One of the reason fighting for king Amanullah was that he was symbol of education and literacy. But unfortunately after the exile of king Amanullah (1919-1929), no body thought of giving education to these people. This lack of education is one of the causes of instability in this region.

These Pashtuns are famous for hospitality and they highly respect guests or foreigners. The Pashtuns people have their own rules and ways of life what they call Pashtunwala. Pashtunwala is a constitution of Pashtuns which is implemented only on Pashtuns. If the government or its laws exist or not, but these Pashtuns obey Pashtunwala and they are loyal to their rules and regulations. Pashtunwala consists of some characteristics of Pashtuns like hospitality (melmastia), zeal (nang, ghairat), revenge (badal, ghach akhestal), shelter or asylum (panah), wives (namoos) neighbor (hamsaya), forgiveness (bakhal)reconciliation (pukhalaina) and apology (nanawati). All this means that Pashtuns must be hospitable,zealous, revenge, giving shelter to victims or oppressed and fight for their defense, respecting women and wives, not fighting against weak people, when some one or enemy asks for forgiveness then he must be forgiven or if some one apologize then he must be forgiven.

Now let’s talk about the current situation of these people and this region. This is the only area where the security has improved comparing to the previous some years. We attribute the improvement of security to the ETTs. The ETTs made it happen because of their good planning, their close contact with the local people, their good training for Afghan soldiers and of course their good and kind behavior with the people and interpreters. The ETTs, their interpreters and Afghan soldiers work like one team and all of them are working like members of one family. The kind and good behavior of the ETTs impressed the people and the Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF). In the past the focus was on defending and fighting against the terrorists but this ETTs team decided to come close to people, helping and assisting the people, to listen to their problems and then find solutions for their problem. The ETTs together with Afghan National Army (ANA) go on missions to different villages and distribute humanitarian assistance stuffs. The ETTs usually have meetings (jurga in Pashto) with the local people and villagers, and in these meetings they discuss the security, the ways to improve security, they discuss their problems and together with the people the ETTs are trying to bring an atmosphere where the people have and easy life and daily facilities of their life and to provide educational environment to their kids. For the first time these were the ETTs who decided to open schools here. Like mentioned early that there were no schools here in the past, but now in less than a year there are more than 30 boys and girls schools and colleges only in Bermel Districts. Now the kids are going to schools and another good thing is that the employment is provided to these people. These people were unemployed and used to go to far areas and some times even to Gulf, but the projects are given to local people and it is also compulsory that the workers must be local people, thus all the people are employed and they make good money. The people are living a happy life and they
are optimist for the future of their kids. More than 13 millions US dollar projects have been completed in this Districts and now more 13 millions US dollar are in hand to spend.

These people were thinking of fighting and crimes some years ago, but now it has become an example for the rest of Afghanistan. These people who were once fighters have turned in to very good and peaceful people. Now all of them support the government and the representatives of their tribes and villages come and join the weekly meetings in the District Center here in Bermel. These meetings and the coordination planned by the ETTs made security to improve. Now the people support the government and they don’t let the terrorists to stay in their villages and the people report every thing the enemy and IEDs immediately to the Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF) and Coalition Forces (CF). This is the best ETTs team we ever had here in Afghanistan. The reason we say this is that this ETTs team improved security here but we see that in other parts of Afghanistan the instability increases. The important thing is that this ETTs team made an example for the Coalition Force not only in Afghanistan but also in Iraq. If the Coalition Forces follow our ETTs team policy, then I am quite sure that every where the security will improve like it improved in Bermel. Our ETTs have really opened the mind of the people in the meetings held on regular basis. Now the people, the ETTs, the ANA, the ANP (Afghan National Police) and the terps are like one family and we are members of this family. The trust and confidence we have for each other must be mentioned. We the terps are fighting with the ETTs shoulder by shoulder against the terrorists. We are not working here as terps but we are working like one team, like brothers and good friends. We always help each other. The ETTs are very kind and friendly to us. They really take care of us, our country and our people. We are all proud of our selves for working with such good ETTs.

After nearly three decades of war, it is impossible for us to maintain security and achieve every good thing in our country by our selves. We need the Coalition force and especially ETTs who are training and mentoring our Army. In order to stand on our own feet, we need a strong and highly trained army, and it is impossible for us without ETTs. Now we see that our army is getting better every single day. They are receiving good weapons and good armored vehicles. We are watching the changes every day. This year with the help of USA we made our Afghan Air Corps. This year the US gave some helicopters to our Air Corps. According to some reports the US government is giving 160 air crafts and helicopters to Afghanistan during 2008-2010.

Some years ago we didn’t know any thing about the people living out side Afghanistan. We didn’t know about the culture of American people and Europe. We didn’t know that Americans could be such good friends. We didn’t know that the Americans are so kind and good friends. The stay of the Coalition Forces in Afghanistan really brought these two people Afghans and Americans close to each other. Both the governments and the people have come close to each other. The most important reason of bringing these two nations close to each other is because of having good and kind US ETTs. The people are really impressed with their attitude and their behavior. Now our wish and desire is to go to USA and become US citizen. We want to join US army and that is the only way to work and serve the poor and oppressed people of the world. We understand that if we are working in the US army then we can help to bring freedom and democracy for the rest of the world like we have freedom and democracy in Afghanistan now. These all became possible only because of US support and US army in Afghanistan. Now we know that if we join the US army then we can make it possible for other people of the world.

At last once again I want to highly appreciate the hard work of the American soldiers in Afghanistan. We are extremely grateful to the US ETTs, Mentors and soldiers. They are giving their lives in our country for our people and our freedom and our security. We know all these Americans have very good life back in the USA. They can live a happy life over there in the US, but they have left their happy lives, their beloved kids and wives and now they are away from their families and serving in my country.

“Thank you very much for your hard work and your efforts to provide security and bright future to the Afghan People”.

The last sentence of us is “Salute for all the American soldiers who gave their lives for our people, for our country and for our future. They gave their lives not only for Afghans but for the betterment of all humans of the world. We all Afghans pray for their souls. May they rest in peace”.


Anonymous said...

Wow, not only do they recognize that we are not the "Imperialist Invaders" that the msm and certain left wing Americans portray us as, but they see us as the liberators that we have shown ourselves to be over and over again throughout our history.
I have had corespondence with an Iraqi interpreter, and he shares the same sentiments. We are not conquerors, but shed our blood and treasure for ALL people who are oppressed!

Cat in Florida

K-Dubyah said...

Brat, How cool to actually hear what the 'terps' think about our "ETT Guys"...

May those ripples they've created spread throughout all of Afghanistan..


BFree said...