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    Why we serve: Afghan air force photojournalist builds troops and self



    Story by Lt.j.g. Jacob Joy 

    NATO Training Mission Afghanistan

    KABUL, Afghanistan - Whether pointing a camera or striking poses in front of it, Afghan air force Senior Master Sgt. Said Padshah is right at home.

    Padshah primarily shoots photos and reports on AAF news and events for the service’s headquarters public affairs office in Kabul, but he is also sharing his passion for competitive bodybuilding with his fellow service members, taking time every day to work out and train them at a local base gym.

    “I train my soldiers for two hours every day, and then I train for another two hours at a private fitness club,” Padshah said.

    Bodybuilding, a sport long popular with Afghans, suffered and diminished during Taliban rule. Many gyms closed, their frequenters sometimes threatened, and bodybuilders were forced to work out fully clothed from head to toe. The full-garb requirement was not exactly conducive to an activity focused specifically on the well-oiled, chiseled contours of the human body.

    But in recent years, the sport has become something of a craze, attracting hordes of young men (and women) with the promise of strength and physical self-determination. Padshah was swept up in the bodybuilding resurgence about four years ago, and said he has found great success so far. As an entrant in eight competitions, he said he has placed first in his 75-kilogram weight class every time.

    A family man from the Kapitsa province, Padshah said he wanted to join the military and help defeat the Taliban since he was a boy. Now, he said his wife and relatives take great pride in his accomplishments – both in uniform and on the podium - and he hopes to set an example in his dedication to military service and bodybuilding success that his son can look up to.

    “I hope that in the future we have a peaceful country, where we can protect our borders and I can train my soldiers in my profession,” he said.

    Padshah’s quotes were interpreted from Dari to English for this story.



    Date Taken: 05.01.2013
    Date Posted: 07.08.2013 07:08
    Story ID: 109828
    Location: KABUL, AF 

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