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14 WORLD NEWS
Army April 1, 2010
By Capt Al McPherson
KEY Mentoring Task Force 1 (MTF 1)
personnel got a clearer understanding of
local perspectives at a recent Community
Development Council (CDC) meeting in
Sajawul, north of Tarin Kowt.
The CDC meetings, locally known as
shuras, are opportunities for the people to
discuss issues relevant to their community.
"Shuras are one of the ways we inter-
act with the community. They are also an
opportunity for Australian and Afghan
leadership to get a better understanding of
community sentiment towards the ISAF
presence in the area," said CO MTF 1 Lt-
Col Jason Blain said. '
More than 30 Sajawul residents attend-
ed the meeting and voiced a desire for a
safer environment where children have a
secure place to attend school and receive
basic health care.
During the meeting, Lt-Col Blain
announced that funding had been made
available to complete the local school,
which was very well received by commu-
Afterwards, he and his staff conducted
a reconnaissance of Sajawul and Khuajem
Ahmad village to gain an understanding of
the on-the-ground situation.
MTF 1 operations officer Maj Damien
Green said the reconnaissance provided a
sense of the subtle differences between the
villages and was an important follow-up to
"We headed out with some of the
Afghan soldiers to Sajawul and met with
key locals over a chai tea to continue the
shura discussions about security and devel-
opment in the area," Maj Green said.
"The discussions were amicable and
we obtained a clearer understanding of the
development projects that could be under-
taken by the local population with appro-
priate funding and equipment."
Previous Australian contingents in the
Sajawul area set a solid framework for
ongoing community support and participa-
tion with local tribal elders demonstrating
a high level of trust and faith in the MTF,
Afghan National Army and ISAF.
Security tops shura talk
Get together: CO MTF 1 Lt-Col Jason Blain meets with Afghan elders in
Sajawul. Inset: MTF 1 personnel and their Afghan counterparts engage with
local elders at the shura in Sajawul.
Photos by Sgt Mick Davis
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