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NEWS | Sept. 13, 2010

Guardsmen, ANP provide aid to Kabul's poorest children

By Capt. Anthony Deiss, Task Force Rushmore Public Affairs

KABUL, Afghanistan - Afghan National Police (ANP) and U.S. Army Soldiers delivered needed school supplies and clothing to the children of one of Kabul’s poorest neighborhoods in the Shohadayi Salehin village Sept. 6.  

In this impoverished community where cemetery graves line the streets, school children here of have only meager belongings to help them forge an education.

However with the delivery of the new school supplies, these children have a little more to help give them a future that is not as grim as the surroundings they live in.

“I am happy for the assistance,” said Ali Shah, Shohadayi Salehin village elder. “These kids don’t have the money to buy books, pens and pencils, but with the police and American’s help – day by day – it’s getting better.”

“I hope the humanitarian aid in this place, in the eyes of these Afghan people, shows them that the American and ISAF (International Security Assistance Force) forces are our friends,” said Lt. Col. Sayed Noor Mohammad Mangal, chief of the Criminal Investigation Department for Police District 1. “My hope for them is a future of peace and security – not only for Kabul people, but for all Afghanistan.”

The ANP from Police District 1 recommended the humanitarian aid be delivered to the school with the assistance of their mentors and trainers from Police Mentor Team 7, Bravo Battery, 1st Battalion, 101st Field Artillery (1-101st) of the Vermont Army National Guard.

“It’s very important for these people to see the goodwill from the police – so the people can trust the ANP more – and they can go to them with their issues,” said Staff Sgt. Joshua Smith, squad leader for  PMT 7. “By offering their support, which is what the humanitarian aid drop is all about, the police are gaining the support of the people.”

While the ANP provided the coordination, security and distribution of the aid drop, the 1-101st gathered the school supplies from donations back in the U.S. Many of the donations come from local charities, religious organizations and Soldiers’ loved ones.

“A lot of the donations come from families and friends back home wanting to help the people over here,” said Smith, of Burlington, Vt. “They’re doing a good service and their donations are being put to good use to people who can really use them.”

“The humanitarian aid from ISAF and the American Army is very good for the kids going to the school,” said Mangal. “It is useful and we want to hand it out to the people. The humanitarian aid is going to give an energy to the local people and show them Americans are coming here to help us.”

“The humanitarian and medical aid drops are by far two of the best mission we do and are the ones we get the most exposure from,” said Smith, who has participated in four humanitarian aid drops. “You feel really good afterward because you feel like you made a difference in Afghanistan, which is what we are here to do.”

“We don’t want war anymore. We are all humans. Humans need to help humans,” said Shah, as he points toward the cemetery. “We ask that the U.S. will continue to help our government and make it straight and strong, and we appreciate all that the local police and the U.S. are doing for our people.”