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Bill Peoples

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FIRST-PERSON: A Southern Baptist in Afghanistan writes home

      KABUL, Afghanistan (BP)--You can be very proud of the U.S. Military members involved in Operation Enduring Freedom. We are not only ridding Afghanistan of the remnants of al Qaida and Taliban through our operational activities but are also providing humanitarian assistance to the Afghan people.
      As a captain in the U.S. Army Reserve, I am involved in the humanitarian assistance as part of the Coalition Joint Civil-Military Operations Task Force. We are working to refurbish schools, rebuild bridges and roads and restore water resources such as irrigation systems and wells. My job is publicizing our activities through the media and to our internal military audience. I have six military journalists working for me to do the internal information piece.

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United States and Christian flags are prominently displayed in front of the Southern Baptist Convention building in downtown Nashville, Tenn. Photo by Kent Harville
      If you spend any time out among the people of Afghanistan, which I do frequently, you quickly see the results of 23 years of war and the suppression under the Taliban. I see children going to school in bombed-out buildings.
      Most students go to class in buildings with no electricity, no running water, no windows, and no desks or chairs. They sit on canvas tarps on the floor. School supplies are scarcely available. Although these conditions are not conducive to learning, the children of Afghanistan are eager students. They come up to you and say in English "Hello" and "Thank you."