KABUL – Afghan National Police (ANP) and U.S. Army Soldiers provided humanitarian aid to 150 families of the Dasht Barchi village in Kabul Sept. 23, whose homes suffered extensive water damage during a flood last month.
Afghan National Police of police district six and Soldiers of the 1st Battalion, 101st Field Artillery Regiment (1-101st FA), Massachusetts Army National Guard, partnered to procure and deliver shelters and food items to the needy families.
“We are here to help the Afghan people who have been affected by this flood and are here to ensure they get needed shelter and food supplies such as flour, sugar, beans, rice and cooking oil,” said Staff Sgt. Laura Berry of Golf Company, 186th Brigade Support Battalion, Vermont Army National Guard, attached to the 1-101st.
The aid is provided in response to fast moving rain water, which swept through a local creek in August and damaged canal walls – causing debris and garbage to back up water and flood nearby homes.
“This humanitarian aid is so important for the people because they don’t have any building to live inside of or any food to eat or feed their children,” said Muhammed Naim Qazway, chief of police, police district six.
Sgt. 1st Class Chris Scherer, team leader for Police Mentor Team 3, Alpha Battery, 1-101st, helped to organize the relief efforts along with Berry. Both Scherer’s and Berry’s teams coordinated the support with the ANP, and together they are seeing the importance of this kind of aid in winning the support of the people.
“These humanitarian missions are very important – one reason is it gets the people the supplies they desperately need to survive, and reason two it demonstrates the ANP are here to help the people and to build those relationships to earn the respect of the people,” said Scherer. “Once they have that, it will be a lot easier for them to do their job in this area.”
Berry, of Brockton, Mass, expressed a similar sentiment.
“It puts our face along with the ANP’s face to show we are here to help and try and establish trust with us more,” she said. “We need the people to realize that the ANP are around and will be here to help them after we leave.”
Units of the 1-101st work with ANP districts in the city to help provide training and mentorship to keep their communities safe and secure. When disaster strikes, the 1-101st partners with their ANP counterparts to help the Afghans on another level; a level that is making a difference in the eyes of the people, said Qazway.
“It is good for the ANP to be working with the U.S. Army and the people like it – they are trusting us and appreciate our efforts to help them,” he said. “The families whose homes were destroyed in the flood – they have nobody else to turn to – and they love us for that.”
Scherer said the 1-101st is also working on procuring rebuilding materials for the village to repair and strengthen the canal walls to help keep the creek from flooding in the future. The humanitarian aid, along with the reconstruction project, is showing these 1-101st Soldiers they are making a difference here.
“I feel very good about being a part of missions like this,” said Scherer, of Colebrook, N.H. “My whole team is some of the best people I’ve ever worked with and we are out here doing it every day, trying to make a difference and I believe it’s working.”