A soldier with the Afghan National Army’s 2nd Kandak, 3rd Brigade, 205th Infantry Corps gives small food items to a local girl during a foot patrol in Zharay district, Kandahar province June 9. The intent of the patrol was to interact more with the local people. (Photo by Sgt. David Nye)
ZHARAY DISTRICT, Afghanistan (June 20, 2012) — “Non-lethal projects are the biggest part of [counter-insurgency],” said 1st Lt. Nathan B. Mulcahy, a platoon leader in Bravo Troop. “This war isn’t measured in body counts or ground gained, it’s measured in progress with the Afghan people.”
First Lt. Mulcahy, standing in the summer sun of Afghanistan in combat gear, is out to make that progress happen. On June 9, he and his men moved with civil affairs soldiers through an area of Zharay district, Kandahar province. The mission wasn’t to attack Taliban or destroy caches, but to continue building relations with the Afghans in the Bravo Troop 1st Squadron, 14th Cavalry Regiment area.
The patrol left a small combat outpost in southern Zharay and soldiers walked a winding route through the fields to a small bazaar where they talked to local store owners and farmers. Their route continued to a school and a community center.
“We’re promoting the schools and rebuilding,” said 1st Lt. Mulcahy. “Also, an ex-Taliban school will become a community center for people to congregate in. The goal is to help the community get to where they can support themselves and resist the Taliban.”