Coalition forces enhance Afghanistan economy
ISAF: KABUL, Afghanistan – The bazaar at Camp Phoenix in Kabul has improved the local Afghan economy, built relationships and provided service members with a break from their normal routine to buy an assortment of authentic merchandise.
Over 100 Afghan vendors gather here on Fridays to sell goods such as bracelets, scarves, blankets, suits and several other products to coalition forces.
“The bazaar gives service members and civilians a chance to buy products from the local Afghan market that they may not have an opportunity to get at their home station,” said Staff Sgt. Dustin Kourt, badging non-commissioned officer, 196th Maneuver Enhancement Brigade. “The option to sell here is open to local Afghans from the area. They are able to sell their goods for themselves and make a living to support their families.”
“The local vendors get a full screening process including medical, and an intelligence interview before receiving a badge, where they will still be escorted at all times,” said Kourt. “Also, the bazaar is manned and guarded by coalition forces to keep it a safe environment for troops to shop.”
“Since the same vendors usually come to the camp week after week, relationships between camp personnel and the local Afghans have grown to become friends,” added Kourt.
Building relationships has not only provided the locals with continued business, but is also helping to win the hearts and minds of the Afghan people.
“By building relationships, a good word is being put out about the coalition forces and that we are trying to help their people,” said Kourt. “They are also coming back and bringing us some good intelligence information about who may be a good vender and who might be bad, or even if there are planned attacks.”
“If we continue to build positive relationships, it could alleviate certain citizens from siding with enemy or Taliban forces,” said Kourt.