News: Christmas dinner with the Afghans
Story by Sgt. 1st Class E. L. Craig
LAGHMAN, Afghanistan – There were holiday decorations all around the room and not one, but two Christmas trees in the dining facility’s reserved room on Forward Operating Base Fenty, Dec. 18, 2013.
Leaders of 2nd Battalion, 30th Infantry Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division invited local leaders from Nangarhar province and the Afghan National Security Forces from the area over for Christmas dinner. Tonight would continue the annual custom that strengthens the friendships of two vastly different cultures.
“This is extremely important for our relationship with our Afghan partners,” said Lt. Col. Al Boyer, commander of 2nd Battalion, 30th Infantry Regiment. “As part of respect for their culture, we spend time honoring and participating in their holidays, so we decided to invite them to participate in one of ours.”
It was taco night at the dining facility and the command had traditional Afghan food brought in to offer variety to the meal.
According to Boyer the event was well received.
“Everyone’s here,” said Boyer. “We have every single Nangarhar ANSF leader here, as well as several local Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan leaders, so the generals with their deputies, as well as the deputy governor of Nangarhar, to celebrate one of our holidays.”
During the event Col. Mario Diaz, commander of 4th BCT, 10th Mountain Division spoke to the group, expressing his appreciation for everyone’s attendance and emphasizing the importance Nangarhar plays in his brigade’s mission in Regional Command East, north of Kabul.
“What is present in Nangarhar is a special bond of friendship and respect and it is my honor to be here with you today to share in the holidays,” said Diaz. “We use the holidays to focus on ourselves as a people, to enjoy our families and look forward to the future.”
During the event, 2nd Battalion’s command presented a gift to each Afghan leader and, although this was a time to mingle and enjoy food, this was also a chance to exchange important dialogue between the leaders present.
“We are able to provide a lot in the way of advising our ANSF counterparts, but we also have extreme value in our assistance and they look forward to having that interaction with us,” said Diaz.
The command has specific ideas of what they wanted the Afghan leaders attending to leave with.
“I want them to take away the fact that we have an understanding of each other’s culture, that we’re very cognizant of their culture and they are cognizant of ours, and they are,” said Boyer. “That’s why they all showed up, out of respect for our culture and their willingness to celebrate our holiday with us.”