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Peacekeeping Mission Warms Cold War Aftermath

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Fort Bragg soldiers are helping to train soldiers in Kazakstan.
KAZAKSTAN — During the cold war, it was "us vs them" -- Capitalists against Communists -- freedom fighting oppression.

Back then, we focused on slogans. Now, the focus is on peace and people.

Troops from Fort Bragg's 82nd Airborne Division are training soldiers in countries that were once part of the Soviet Union. In Russia thereare new faces to replacing old enemies, and WRAL-TV5'sTerri Grucamade the trip to Kazakstanto find out how.

Kazakstan was the second-largest state in the former Soviet Union andwon its independence six years ago. While its people have kept manytraditions alive, Kazakstan is a country in transition. It is rich inculture and agriculture, but still very poor.

Professor Shel Hulac says there have been many changes in the economy.

Many in Kazakstan make their livings by farming. Hadicha Haitmetova's family is one of 15 families who harvest onion fields. She is old enoughto retire, but she good-naturedly continues to work because, she toldGruca through an interpreter, there is much to be done.

Each family working the harvest earns the equivalent of only $15 permonth.

The people of Kazakstan live relatively simple lives. They have verylittle in the way of material things, but they want Americans to know thatthey are very proud of what they do have.

Haitmetova says they have all that they want or need.

Some, however, worry about the stability of the newly independentcountry. Kazakstan is a nation surrounded by countries in turmoil, such asIran, Afghanistan and Russia. That's why seven nations, including Turkeyand the US are coming in to help.

Many say they respect Americans for assisting with Kazakstan'stransition, because America represents the freedom they sought for solong.

Gruca is traveling with units from the 82nd.Her reports continue through this week.

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