Local Afghan Government Officials – American Coalition Forces Rescue Flood Victims
In a true testimonial to the growing success of the Afghan government and the working relationship between that government and the coalition forces, both joined forces recently during a major flood and provided prompt emergency assistance to local flood victims in northeastern Afghanistan. This joint operation took place on March 31 through April 1, 2007.
The relief efforts came in the wake of severe flooding to the south of the provincial capital of Mehtar Lam. The flooding, which filled some areas with waist-high water, stranded around 200 Afghan civilians and left many without food, dry clothing or shelter.
Gov. Gulab Mangal of Laghman and ANSF spearheaded efforts to house villagers displaced by the flooding. Afghanistan International Transportation helicopters rescued around 150 stranded citizens.
Connecticut National Guardsmen from Task Force Iron Gray and members of the Mehtar Lam Provincial Reconstruction Team, meanwhile, assisted Mangal and ANSF in the relief efforts.
Islamic Republic of Afghanistan government and Coalition forces delivered food items including prepared meals, rice, beans and water. They distributed such clothing articles as jackets, gloves, sweaters, socks and gloves as well as tarps and blankets to the Qhargahe District Center for distribution through the Red Crescent.
The severe flooding was caused by rains and melting snow in Eastern Afghanistan! According to the coalition leadership, they had nothing but the highest praises for the efforts of the local Afghan officials to meet the crisis which befell its local citizens:
“Governor Mangal did an excellent job of coordinating all of the rescue and relief operations,” said Army Lt. Col. Steven Gilbert, the commander of Task Force Iron Gray. “He demonstrated how effective the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan is with taking care of its people.”
“As Coalition forces are here to help the people of Afghanistan we did everything in our power to render assistance when Governor Mangal called,” Gilbert added. “I am very pleased with evacuating the flood victims and to arrange for the helicopters to assist in the rescue of so many citizens of Laghman. My Soldiers felt very good about the opportunity to deliver food, blankets and clothing in such a time of need.”
This is a truly momentous event. What with all the political events in Congress lately about the ineffectiveness of our efforts in Iraq and Afghanistan, there can be no doubt about the major accomplishments made in Afghanistan. This is truly an example of a people who have made great strides in developing their own ability to meet the needs of their own citizenry.
I congratulate the efforts of our troops in the region and the Afghans for the progress they have made. Job well done!
[credits: 3 April 2007
Combined Joint Task Force-82 Press Release]