Combined Joint Task Force-82
BAGRAM AIRFIELD, Afghanistan -
Afghan national security forces (ANSF), advised by coalition forces performed medical, veterinary and material assistance to Afghan civilians at the Sangin District Center, Helmand province, Aug. 1-5.
The medical and veterinary assistance were made possible due to diminished Taliban enemy activity in the area. Coalition forces have put heavy pressure on insurgents in Helmand province since spring, a strategy that disrupted the Taliban’s plan for a spring offensive.
“Our mission is to give these people medical treatment, something they otherwise have great difficulty getting access too,” said a coalition medical officer. “A lot of them can’t afford the medicine we’re giving them, but it’s part of a campaign for healthy bodies in Afghanistan.”
ANSF and coalition forces treated 857 villagers; including 329 men and 528 women and children during the five-day program. Common complaints were muscular and skeletal pain, upset stomach and dehydration, but there were some exceptions. Two victims of a recent Taliban mortar attack were stabilized and evacuated to a nearby coalition post for further care.
“Most of the people who come here have problems that are preventable or easy to fix,” said a coalition medical officer. “We can make simple advice and a little bit of medicine go a long way.”
A coalition dentist also provided dental care for the residents of Sangin. Most of his patients required extractions or fillings and each of them received information on how to maintain good oral health.
“This has been a great success,” said the governor of the Sangin District. “Many people of Sangin have been provided with medical care that they otherwise would not have been able to afford. Many thanks to God and to our friends in the international community for their assistance and may we all have peace.”
In addition to medical, dental and material services, the relief team also treated the livestock of Sangin residents. Sheep, goats and cattle made up the majority of the 120 animals that were treated for parasites, given growth supplements and antibiotics.
“The security and assistance for our animals and villagers are a gift from God,” said a Sangin area village elder. “Many thanks and blessings for an end to war.”
Coalition-aid programs divided 500 bags of rice, 400 bags of beans, cases of tea, powdered milk and cooking oil between villagers. Toys, books and school supplies were also distributed.
“The people of Sangin have seen a large portion of the combat in Afghanistan this year so we do whatever we can to make their lives easier,” said a coalition civil affairs officer. “Most of them are regular working families like you’d see back home; no different from us.”
“Although the services provided were limited, there were many encouraging comments from the locals,” said another coalition civil affairs officer. “They know we are here to help them and they appreciate that. Sangin residents can expect continued goodwill and care from coalition forces.”