Missouri Guard to Help Develop Agribusiness in Afghanistan

WASHINGTON - A team of Missouri National Guard members is heading to Afghanistan to help that country develop its agribusiness economy.

Agriculture employs over 70 percent of the Afghan population and accounts for nearly half of the country's gross domestic product.

But decades of war have devastated the country's farm sector.  The U.S. is working to lift up the Afghan economy to undermine the Taliban and al-Qaida militants operating there.

Missouri Congressman Ike Skelton says the 48-member Missouri Guard team that begins deployment this year will include members with expertise in agriculture and business development.

Projects for the team will include water management, soil enhancement, crop cultivation and improving the delivery and marketing of goods.

(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)