Ramadan celebration at Multi National Base - Tarin Kot
20 August 2013
Coalition forces and Uruzgan residents joined together last month to participate in Ramadan celebrations at Multi National Base - Tarin Kot (MNB –TK), Afghanistan.
Ramadan is a time of spiritual reflection, a time to cleanse the body, mind, and soul. Muslims are expected to make peace with those who have wronged them, and strengthen their relationship with Allah.
One of the most common traditions observed during Ramadan is the fast. Muslims eat a pre-dawn meal called a suhoor. After sunset, the fast is broken with the meal referred to as iftar.
Some Muslims believe that hosting the iftar is a form of charity.
"An iftar is one of the best occasions to meet with Afghan colleagues and counterparts, not only to talk about work but also to connect in a more personal way," said Ambassador Jonathan Addleton, United States Senior Civilian Representative for Regional Command South, who was visiting MNB - TK from Kandahar.
"Undoubtedly, some of my best memories of Afghanistan will be linked to events like this."
The Provincial Reconstruction Team (PRT) has hosted two iftar dinners with key provincial leaders from Uruzgan province, along with several United States. civilians, such as Ambassador Addleton, Kandahar PRT director David Sias, and Regional Command South Governance Lead Ed Birsner.
Major Tony Martinez, civil-military operations chief for Provincial Reconstruction Team-Uruzgan (PRT-U) said it was an honour to host the dinner.
"We have developed a close relationship with our Afghan counterparts, and the dinner was an opportunity to strengthen the relationships in an informal setting; not just with PRT-U, but among the Afghans themselves who will benefit from closer working relations after PRT-U has departed the province."
After the meal, Uruzgan Provincial Governor Amir Mohammad Akhundzada spoke to the group about projects in the province, governance, and the upcoming elections. He also discussed the current school curriculum.
"When I visit schools, I tell students that in any other country in the world you can work one hour to get something done; study for an hour to learn something," he said.
"In Afghanistan, we need to catch up. So, for that same one hour of work elsewhere, we need to work three hours; study for four hours. We need to work hard to catch up to the rest of the world, but we can do it."
Akhundzada added that the strong working relationship with PRT-U had resulted in real progress that was beginning to transform society in Uruzgan.
"We are thankful for everything we have been given," Provincial Governor Akhundzada said. "The stronger we are, the weaker our enemy becomes."
Mr David Yardley, acting director for PRT-U, ended the evening by thanking Provincial Governor Akhundzada.
"It's been an honour to stand shoulder to shoulder with you, and with the Afghan government," Mr Yardley said.
“We look forward to continuing our strong relationship with the province long into the future.”