Some Missouri National Guard members will be going to Afghanistan early next year to help farmers be better farmers. The Missourians have farming backgrounds. Nangarhar Provincial Reconstruction Team commander, Lt. Col. Gordon Phillips, says the team will help farmers put more acres in cultivation and improve access to markets for the products they grow.
Phillips says some of the Nangarhar acreage is used to grow poppies from which opium is made. But the Americans are trying to encourage the farmers to grow more "licit" crops such as fruits and vegetables.
About fifty members of the Missouri Army and Air National Guards will be in the province for about a year.
(On Monday we’ll have a story with one of the Missourians who will be sent to Afghanistan.)
(Attached to this story is a twelve-minute excerpt of the briefing from Afghanistan by Lt. Col. Phillips and the State Department’s Shawn Waddoups. C-SPAN broadcast the entire briefing earlier this week).