Unit commanders celebrate Iftar with local Afghan Officials
July 25, 2013
During a mission to bring stability and peace to the region, one of the most important things a unit can do is win the hearts and minds of the local community in which it resides. This is true around the world and continues to be an important concept to the Kandahar Province's ever-changing area of operations.
U.S. Army Col. Michael A. Getchell, commander of Combined Task Force 4-2 (4th Stryker Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division, and Col. D.A. Sims, commander of Combined Task Force Dragoon (2d Cavalry Regiment), shared an Iftar meal, or breaking fast, with Afghan National Army Brig. Gen. Ahmed Habibi, commander of 1st Brigade, 205th Corps, Panjawi'I District Governor Hajji Faizal Mohammad and other community leaders, July 20, 2013 at Forward Operating Base Masum Ghar, Afghanistan.
Every Year, during the ninth month of the Islamic calendar, Afghans observe the Muslim holiday of Ramadan. During Ramadan, Afghans go through various rituals of self-cleansing through restraint and performing good deeds. During this month, Muslims all over the world abstain from food, drink and other physical needs. The purpose of these practices is to refocus their attention on God and to practice self-sacrifice.
Afghans use this time to reevaluate their lives in the light of Islam. One of the most recognizable behaviors during this time period is fasting. The practice of fasting during Ramadan means those who practice the Muslim religion must not eat, or drink, anything including water while the sun is shining. The fasting lasts from sunrise to sunset and most Muslims begin practicing this ritual from the age of 12.
The Iftar meal provided by CTF 4-2 and CTF Dragoon included baked chicken, rice, salad and fresh fruit such as kiwi, bananas, cantaloupe and lemons. A variety of juices were also available and in addition to many others, the breaking of fast usually consists of dates and water or fruit juice followed by prayer and finished with a full meal.
Getchell shared his meal as a farewell to those with whom he has developed a close partnership over the last nine months before redeploying back to Joint Base Lewis McChord, Wash. For Sims, this was an introduction as he steps in and continues the mission in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.