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Mna, a young girl from Konar Province, weaves a rug at the women's shura building in Asadabad. Similar skills, as well as business skills, will be taught to other women so they can take a larger role in developing the local economy and supporting their families.

Mna, a young girl from Konar Province, weaves a rug at the women's shura building in Asadabad. Similar skills, as well as business skills, will be taught to other women so they can take a larger role in developing the local economy and supporting their families. (Courtesy of U.S. Army)

U.S. soldiers on the Provincial Reconstruction Team in Afghanistan’s Konar province are helping build a women’s center where women will be able to gather and learn skills to support their families.

Many will be learning to sew clothes, weave rugs or make beaded jewelry so they can sell products at local bazaars. Others who already know these crafts will be getting business training and the initial financial support they need to get started.

According to U.S. military officials, 25 years of fighting and turmoil in Konar has left far more women than men — many of whom are disabled — in the province, requiring women to take on a larger economic role.

“If we could just provide them with the initial materials they need or with a loan to purchase these materials, they would be able to start turning around a profit,” said Lt. Col. Jennifer Caruso, Combined Joint Task Force-76 Equal Opportunity program manager.

Caruso leads a group of female soldiers who are evaluating women’s roles throughout Afghanistan and looking for ways the coalition can help expand them.

A local contractor has drafted plans for the center, which will be built on the grounds of a girls school, and work can begin within two weeks after the project is approved.


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