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A Different Mission In Afghanistan


Aired 9/21/09

San Diego National Guardsmen are part of a unit deploying to Afghanistan this week. Their mission is to develop agricultural businesses.

San Diego National Guardsmen are part of a unit deploying to Afghanistan this week. Their mission is to develop agricultural businesses.

This is the first National Guard unit from California to deploy to Afghanistan with a different set of marching orders. For security reasons, Specialist Besiderio Batucan of San Ysidro says he can't say exactly where they are going, but it is in a dangerous province of Afghanistan.

He says his job is on security detail, but many of his colleagues on the unit have agricultural and marketing skills.

“We’re not going to be going there to harm bad guys,” Batucan says. “Our mission is basically to help the Afghani people to do things like soil sampling and growing things like corn and grapes, and help their economy so that they can stand on their own feet.”

The head of Batucan’s unit, Lieutenant Robert Parry, says National Guardsmen from Kansas have already worked with Afghani farmers to increase grape production. He says they encouraged the farmers to grow vines on trellises instead of along the ground, the traditional practice.

They hope to give young, unemployed Afghanis an alternative to signing up with the Taliban.

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Avatar for user 'randolphslinky'

randolphslinky | September 21, 2009 at 8:34 a.m. ― 7 years, 6 months ago

I think it's really unfortunate that we are spending so much time, money and effort to nation build in Afghanistan. As a military veteran myself, I knew our excursion into Iraq would be pointless and Afghanistan is even more pointless. We are not going to change that region of the world - certainly not by military force. We need a military presence there, but only to deal with immediate and legitmate threats to us. A naval force with cruise missles or existing bases with drones are the best way to handle this. The larger US presence only creates more animosity and legitimizes the fervor of radical groups like Al Queda. Everyone needs to remember that we were hit on 9-11 by a group of men (some on an international terrorist list) that were able to walk right into our country, get apartments, phone numbers (listed in the phone book) and training on how to fly a plane (not interested in knowing how to land it) right here. These guys, and many like them exist from the Philippines to Indonesia, the entire Middle East and in Europe, and even right here on America soil. We need a more realistic approach to this problem. Even if Afghanistan were fixed, that's one down, and 100 more places to go. Fix America's problems first, secure our borders, our ports of entry, our immigration policies, and support our first on the scene responders: police, fire fighters, emergency services.

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