Afghanistan's next top chef: SOCOM?

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A Special Forces company commander meets with village elders and members of the 1st Kandak, 209th Afghan National Army Corps, in this 2007 photo taken in Helmand // Army photo

America’s trying to win hearts, minds, and now bellies too, in Afghanistan.

U.S. Special Operations Command is seeking a contractor to provide troops with a series of courses in how to prepare authentic Afghan meals, “in the style and presentation that would be expected by local village elders.”

In a recent solicitation, SOCOM says the class should cover Halal slaughter techniques, cultural sensitivities, how to identify cuts of meat and, as mentioned, how to prepare a meal.

Although the solicitation doesn’t explain why soldiers would be taught to cook Afghan-style meals, anyone even the least bit familiar with counterinsurgency doctrine should know why.

As Ben Farmer of the UK Telegraph notes, sharing meals, cups of tea, and hospitality with locals has long been considered critical to NATO’s “hearts and minds” counter insurgency campaign.

The three-day Afghanistan Cooking Techniques course would teach around 130 soldiers at Fort Lewis, Wash.; Fort Bragg, N.C., and Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., among others.

 

[via Danger Room, UK Telegraph]
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  1. The story is illustrated by a 2007 pohto involving a unit of the Special Forces. Nothing said about continuation since then and by what kind of forces. I am hoping that this effort has been continued and has prodeced results during the past 4 years and by Infantry troops in addition to Special Forces.

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