FORWARD OPERATING BASE PASAB, Afghanistan-Afghan and U.S. soldiers gathered on March 20, to celebrate the beginning of Nowruz, the Afghan New Year, over a traditional meal hosted by the 2nd Kandak, 3rd Brigade, 205th Corps Afghan National Army.

It was a particularly special gathering as these soldiers has spent the last month in Gorak serving together. Their mission was to aid the ANA as they secured routes by providing checkpoints and patrols, which set up permanent solutions for Afghan local security.

We appreciate these gentlemen who sit before us and who do such hard work for the Afghan people, said Lt. Col. Abdul Ghani Motadain the 3rd Brigade, 205th Corps Religious Cultural Advisor, who spoke through a translator. Our International Security Assistance Force partners have done a lot of hard work and we are very appreciative. We sit here tonight because we fight together.

"This dinner was a great opportunity to build on an already strong relationship," said Maj. Jason Shultz, 2nd Kandak, 3rd Brigade, 205th Corps ANA Security Forces Assistance Team officer in charge.

Nowruz is a popular Afghan holiday which marks the first day of spring and the beginning of the year. Under Taliban rule it was banned as a pagan holiday. However, under the Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan citizens are allowed to celebrate it freely.

"We are all professional soldiers and partners and we consider you as friends. I want to wish peace for you and your families in 1392," said Lt. Col Tim Creighton, SFAT OIC.

We have parties like this everywhere in Afghanistan. It is a symbol of the new year and we want you to enjoy it and we wish for you to have good memories of your time here with us in Afghanistan," said Motadain.