It’s been two years since the Missouri National Guard’s sixth and final Agriculture Development Team returned from Afghanistan. Governor Nixon, in the Afghanistan capital of Kabul, says the teams have made lasting impacts. “It made significant progress in those areas both in intelligence as well as shifting some of the crops off of poppy seeds and heroin into fruits and vegetables,” he says
Nixon says there has been an important political value to the work of the ADT program that Missouri pioneered and that other states later adopted. He says leaders in Afghanistan are convinced “that the fine work done by the Agriculture Development teams…has been one reason why some of those regions have been more peaceful and less likely havens for Al Qaeda as well as for Taliban.”
Nixon says the program “fits the model of what’s going on with law enforcement and security forces over here; you try to train and turn it over to the locals.” He says the programs might be prototypes for similar efforts in other countries but they’re not likely to be done again in Afghanistan.
Nixon and the governors of Nevada, New York, and Tennessee are there as representatives of the National Council of Governors. Nixon was one of the original members of the council when it was formed in 2010 to address issues related to the National Guard and to national security. This has been his fourth visit to Afghanistan. Missouri has two units with 300 soldiers deployed there now: the 220th Engineer Company from Festus and the 276th Engineer Company from Pierce City and Springfield.