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Soldiers Work to Sway Afghan Youth From Violence

By Army Pfc. Beth Raney
Special to American Forces Press Service

KUNAR PROVINCE, Afghanistan, Nov. 12, 2009 – Task Force Lethal civil affairs soldiers from Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 2nd Battalion, 12th Infantry Regiment, and members of the U.S. Agency for International Development conducted a meeting Nov. 5 to discuss youth-related issues in the province’s Nangalam, Dari Khar, Manogai and Watapur districts.

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Members of the youth group in the Dari Khar district of eastern Afghanistan's Kunar province stand together at a development and support meeting, Nov. 5, 2009. The meeting targeted boys at risk of insurgents’ influence to give them alternatives to violence. U.S. Army photo by Pfc. Beth Raney
  

(Click photo for screen-resolution image);high-resolution image available.

Officials said the meeting targeted vulnerable youth, especially teenage boys at risk of coming under the influence of anti-Afghan elements, in the hope of giving them alternatives to violence.

Task Force Lethal soldiers discussed the organization of local community youth-group meetings in Dari Khar in hopes of combining several youth groups into one larger, united youth leaders group.

They engaged youth group leaders from Dari Khar and Nangalam in the local bazaar to discuss incentive-based community service and possible implementation of small projects such as trash collection for rewards such as sports equipment.

Plans are under way to initiate similar youth groups in neighboring districts, officials said, and monthly youth meetings are proposed in the Manogai district.

(Army Pfc. Beth Raney serves in the Task Force Mountain Warrior public affairs office.)

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Click photo for screen-resolution imageA family from the Watapur district of eastern Afghanistan's Kunar province participates in a youth development and support meeting, Nov. 5, 2009. The meeting targeted boys at risk of insurgents’ influence to give them alternatives to violence. U.S. Army photo by Pfc. Beth Raney   
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