Planting seeds for farming growth in Afghanistan

Citizen Soldiers attend agricultural training for special Afghanistan deployment. / Matt Prichard

Citizen soldiers from the United States National Guard met in Tifton Monday, learning modern agricultural techniques to benefit Afghan farmers.

"To have a better agriculture, to feed themselves better, to make a little bit of money and improve their livelihood is probably the only way we'll make long lasting impact in that country," said University of Georgia representative, Steve Brown.

Soldiers go through an intense training process learning everything from proper planting, to beekeeping. But it all comes back to nation building, with the hope of creating a sustainable economy in Afghanistan.

"Obviously we want to make sure we have a good relationship as a country, with Afghanistan and the United States. I can think of no better way, than to take a citizen soldier, to go into Afghanistan and build that bridge between the two countries," said Commander Bill Williams.

Officials with the operation say that the goal from day 1 has been to help the Afghan people, something a lot of Americans turn a blind eye to.

"The general public, and myself included, before I got involved with this project, thought of it as a war. You're over there fighting and killing people. But the U.S. government is trying to leave that country better than when they found it," said Brown.

"It is people helping people. It doesn't matter if it's an Afghan or an American, we're all individual people, and when it's all said and done we're all Gods' children. So there's nothing wrong with reaching out and helping each other," said Williams.

Those on the mission will deploy in early spring, and say they are looking forward to changing others lives, as well as their own.