Kentucky ADT 5 prepares for work in Afghanistan by learning the language

Story and photo by Lt. Col. Dallas Kratzer, ADT 5 executive officer

KY ADT 5

Members of the Kentucky National Guard’s Agribusiness Development Team 5 attend a language workshop at the Georgia National Guard Language Training Center in Marietta, Ga., August, 2012. (Photo courtesy of Kentucky ADT 5)

MARIETTA, Ga. — Members of Kentucky National Guard’s Agribusiness Development Team 5 recently traveled to Marietta, Georgia for two weeks of Pashto language immersion classes at the Georgia National Guard Language Training Center. Twenty of the thirty-nine member team spent two weeks learning the culture, history and language of the Pashto people of southern Afghanistan.

The class focused on common every day phrases, construction of sentences, numbers, and over 50 agricultural terms.  Students left the class with over 300 Pashto words committed to memory and were able to translate basic sentences spoken in Pashto to English.

“Learning the Pashto language demonstrates a genuine interest in Afghanistan and their way of life,” said ADT 5 Commander Col. Bob Hayter, a native of Bowling Green, Ky. “In the Afghan culture it’s extremely important to establish personal relationships with the local population and its leaders prior to conducting any type of business.  Chipping away at the language barrier will help us develop an instant rapport with the people as well as laying the cornerstone for a long and rewarding relationship.”

Pashto is spoken by nearly 40 percent of Afghanistan’s population and is a mixture of Persian, Dari, and other languages.  Previous Kentucky National Guard Agribusiness Development Teams have worked primarily in the northern regions of Afghanistan.  Kentucky’s ADT 5 will be the second team from Kentucky to work in the southern region of Afghanistan and will be replacing ADT 4 in late 2012.

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