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American Forces Press Service

Afghan, Coalition Forces Help Brighten Residents' Lives

American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Dec. 21, 2007 – Afghan and coalition forces brightened the lives of Afghan adults and children alike with a wave of humanitarian efforts in Afghanistan this week.

Villagers from Familia village, in the Shindad district of Herat province, enjoyed the security of well-lit homes and streets after Afghan national security forces and coalition forces repaired the village's generator Dec. 18, just in time for Eid al-Adha celebrations.

“We brought a mechanic to fix the generator. The village had no electricity for more than a month,” an Afghan soldier said. “The children smiled as the lights came on.”

But the lights do more than just brighten the faces of Afghan children. The well-lit streets also provide security for village residents.

Electricity was not the only Eid gift villagers received. During previous visits to the area, the combined forces met with village elders to determine residents’ other needs. In addition to repairing the village generator, troops brought five bundles of humanitarian aid materials at the elders’ request, including blankets, clothes and gloves.

Dozens of children swarmed village elders, the district subgovernor, and Afghan and coalition forces as they handed out the winter items. Prior to Eid celebrations and the onset of bitter winter weather, the supplies were a much-welcomed gift.

“The people are happy with the security we provide the area,” an Afghan National Army soldier said. “The schools and mosque in the village enjoy a large attendance due to the presence of the (Afghan National Army).”

Villages in the area have been the site of recent insurgent activity, underscoring the need to maintain stability in an area where suspected Taliban insurgents recently set off two bombs in a school, causing heavy damage.

“The (Afghan national security force) is committed to providing security in the region,” said Army Maj. Chris Belcher, a Combined Joint Task Force 82 spokesman. “The Islamic Republic of Afghanistan will continue to increase the quality of life for villagers all around Afghanistan.”

Days earlier, Afghan national security forces, assisted by coalition forces, delivered tons of much-needed humanitarian assistance to hundreds of villagers in Sra Kala, in the Achin district, and Shabl, in the Deh Bala district of Nangarhar province Dec. 16 and 17.

Afghan national security forces, including Afghan National Police members, delivered more than two tons of blankets, toys, soccer balls, flour, rice, prayer rugs, storage bags and other items to the more than 350 adults and 650 children who showed up to receive the goods.

The children, some covered with colorful scarves, smiled and thanked the Afghan National Police members who provided toys, stuffed animals, crayons and coloring books.

The provincial subgovernor, responsible for the districts, specifically requested assistance from the Afghan National Police at the request of area chiefs and village elders. Distributing supplies among local citizens was a way to reward villagers who have helped combined forces create safe environments in the districts by making the area inhospitable to insurgents.

“The villagers were very happy to receive the much-needed items. The goods will help villagers endure the onset of freezing winter temperatures,” a coalition soldier said. “The people of Sra Kala and Shabl recognize that the government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan truly cares for the general welfare of the population.

“Afghan national security forces and the Afghan National Police are trying to improve their quality of life,” the soldier added.

(Compiled from Combined Joint Task Force 82 news releases.)

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