KANDAHAR, Afghanistan - Afghan contractors, civilians and coalition service members with the Train, Advise and Assist Command-South (TAAC-South) from across Kandahar Airfield in Afghanistan came together in mid-June to celebrate a three-day holiday recognized as Eid al-Fitr.
The holiday, known as Eid for short, is a celebration marking the end of Islam's holy month of fasting. This signifies the end of Ramadan, locally known as Ramazan, which is a time where Muslims practice fasting and extended prayer.
"I think it is important that if Soldiers are deployed to any country they value the culture and experience it not just from reading about it in papers but from celebrating with the indigenous people of those lands," said Dr. Abdul Wahid, a linguist for TAAC-South. "Eid is an example of the festivities that bring coalition forces and U.S. friends to see how the locals of Afghanistan celebrate Eid in a very harmonious way."
Wahid, a linguist for U.S. Forces, was one of several Afghans who helped organize the event.
"I have a deep respect for the Afghan culture, and I was honored to be invited to and involved with, the Eid al-Fitr celebration," said Master Sgt. Louis Spinazze, the senior enlisted adviser for the police advisory team at TAAC-South with the 40th Infantry Division of the California National Guard. "It was a lot of fun and I truly enjoyed the camaraderie."
The celebration allowed Soldiers and contractors to sample a variety of Afghan foods, see Afghan traditional dress and witness festive dancing.
"I feel the celebration helped to bring a lot of people on Kandahar together in a setting where we could build camaraderie as a team," said Wahid. "I was able to interact with several agencies across Kandahar that I would not normally see, such as Navy personnel from the hospital and Airmen who work flight operations."
The celebration comes at a unique time in Afghan history during a cease-fire, which resulted in Afghan citizens and Taliban celebrating Eid together throughout the country.
"While I partner with the Afghan security forces, I felt it was beneficial to socialize for a moment and spend time in a setting where I could witness their culture," said Command Sgt. Maj. Anton Hillig, senior enlisted leader for TAAC-South. "The evening gave me a deeper respect for Afghan traditions and allowed me to gain perspective that will assist me in connecting with the Afghan National Defense and Security Force partners."